Using ForeStereo and LIDAR data to assess fire and canopy structure-related risks in relict Abies pinsapo Boiss. forests. uri icon

abstract

  • In this study we combine information from aerial LIDAR and hemispherical images taken in the field with ForeStereo-a forest inventory device-to assess the vulnerability and to design conservation strategies for endangered Mediterranean fir forests based on the mapping of fire risk and canopy structure spatial variability. We focused on the largest continuous remnant population of the endangered tree species Abies pinsapo Boiss. spanning 252 ha in Sierra de las Nieves National Park (South Andalusia, Spain). We established 49 sampling plots over the study area. Stand structure variables were derived from ForeStereo device, a proximal sensing technology for tree diameter, height and crown dimensions and stand crown cover and basal area retrieval from stereoscopic hemispherical images photogrammetry. With this information, we developed regression models with airborne LIDAR data (spatial resolution of 0.5 points.m(-2)). Thereafter, six fuel models were fitted to the plots according to the UCO40 classification criteria, and then the entire area was classified using the Nearest Neighbor algorithm on Sentinel imagery (overall accuracy of 0.56 and a KIA-Kappa Coefficient of 0.46). FlamMap software was used for fire simulation scenarios based on fuel models, stand structure, and terrain data. Besides the fire simulation, we analyzed canopy structure to assess the status and vulnerability of this fir population. The assessment shows a secondary growth forest that has an increasing presence of fuel models with the potential for high fire spread rate fire and burn probability. Our methodological approach has the potential to be integrated as a support tool for the adaptive management and conservation of A. pinsapo across its whole distribution area (<4,000 ha), as well as for other endangered circum-Mediterranean fir forests, as A. numidica de Lannoy and A. pinsapo marocana Trab. in North Africa.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020