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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Department or Program Affiliation
Huxley College of the Environment
Master of Science (MS)
Wallin, David O.
Helfield, James J.
Bunn, Andrew Godard
This paper addresses two applications of lidar remote sensing: an area-based watershed-scale analysis of forest structure used to prioritize riparian restoration projects for salmon, and an individual-tree-based analysis for tree species classification. Salmon conservation is extremely important in the Pacific Northwest, but restoration efforts have been hampered by insufficient data on riparian stand conditions. I used lidar to map riparian stand structure and composition along the Nooksack River, Washington, and developed a restoration priority model based on six factors: riparian stand conditions, shade potential, cause of riparian impairment, susceptibility to climate change, position in the watershed, and proximity to intact riparian forest. Nine reaches (out of 268 total) were identified as priority targets for riparian restoration. Four of these reaches were on the upper South Fork, two were in the lower South Fork, two were in the lower Middle Fork, and one was in the North Fork near Maple Falls.
At the individual tree level, I compared six different approaches using five different algorithms to sort a discrete-return lidar point cloud into segments representing individual trees. Using these segments, I built models to predict height, diameter, conifer/deciduous classification, and species. Using the best segmentation model, I was able to classify black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and red alder (Alnus rubra) with user’s accuracies up to 89%, overall accuracies of 83-92%, and kappa values above 0.6. This was the first landscape-scale study attempting to classify tree species in natural landscapes in the Pacific Northwest.
lidar, Nooksack River, riparian, salmon, tree species
Western Washington University
Subject – LCSH
Salmon stock management--Washington (State)--Nooksack River Watershed; Riparian restoration--Washington (State)--Nooksack River Watershed; Optical radar--Washington (State)--Nooksack River Watershed
Nooksack River Watershed (Wash.)--Environmental conditions
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Tatum, Julia, "Lidar-Based Riparian Forest Assessment of the Nooksack River, Washington" (2021). WWU Graduate School Collection. 1004.
Available for download on Tuesday, August 24, 2021