The Consultant - 2018 - 46

EVALUATING FOREST INVENTORY TECHNOLOGY FOR SMALL LANDOWNERS

We previously discussed how drone
imagery can help catalyze conversations
with landowners. The widespread consumer adoption of drones has driven their
cost down while spurring the development of user-friendly software for stitching together drone imagery. This makes
drones a compelling option for foresters looking to conduct quick, qualitative
assessments of stands. Some researchers have even been able to develop point
clouds from drone imagery by using a
technique called "structure from motion."
Using a sequence of images taken from
slightly different positions as the drone
flies, it is possible to triangulate the points
of the tree canopies and develop a model
of the canopy's surface. This is similar
to combining lots of stereo pair images
to measure height difference. However,
when it comes to the development of a
statistically unbiased tree-segmentationbased forest inventory, drone imagery
faces many of the same challenges as
LiDAR point clouds. Drones will soon
become a part of every forester's toolbox
for rapid, qualitative stand assessment,
but the days of totally remote drone-based
forest inventory are still a long way off.
Finally, some recent developments in
satellite platforms and analysis may be
useful for consulting foresters. Of course,
satellite imagery has a long history in
forestry; researchers have been mapping land cover change and stratifying
forests with Landsat for decades. And
many of the images used in programs
like Google Maps come from satellites.
However, one of the challenges of using
satellite imagery is that it is sometimes
difficult to acquire a cloud-free image -
particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

Microsatellite
companies like Planet
Labs are promising
global imagery coverage
with daily revisits.
46

landowner, making the
forest comprehensible
to non-experts. Unlike
institutional players
like TIMOs and REITs,
small private landowners are not fiduciarily
obligated to maximize
economic returns. They
often have a longer
term, smaller scale and
more emotional connection to their land.
By adapting the latest
1) A conventional grid of plots (green) in a stand in the Pacific
practices and techNorthwest yielded an estimate of basal area with an error of
nologies to this more
+/- 17% at 90% confidence; 2) Remotely sensed imagery adds
intimate context, cona lot more information about the forest and helps fill in the gaps
sulting foresters serve
between plots; 3) Total basal area distribution across the stand
(redder means higher BA). Statistical analysis of a stack of
as an essential bridge
remotely sensed imagery tightened up the total BA confidence
between small private
interval to +/- 10%; 4) Western Hemlock BA; 5) Douglas Fir BA;
landowners and the
6) Noble Fir BA. Aerial imagery courtesy of Bing Maps
best that modern forest science has to offer.
A new breed of satellite is helping to
The profusion of platforms, sensors
solve this problem, though. Companies
and software means that it has never
like Planet Labs have launched fleets of
been a more exciting time to be a con"microsatellites" that are close to prosulting forester. In the next few years,
viding daily imagery of the entire globe.
what if every private landowner in the
Unlike conventional, bus-sized satellites
U.S. had an updated, accurate invenlike Landsat, these microsatellites are only
tory and a data-driven and optimized
about the size of a few iPhones strapped
management plan? This is an enortogether. And rather than launching just
mous dream, and it is going to take a
one, the microsatellite companies launch
lot of work from all of us in the forestry
upwards of 50 microsatellites at a time.
community. But thanks to recent develWhile the data from these companies is
opments in technology, the dream is
generally not available to consulting foredging toward becoming a reality. We
esters yet, competition is heating up and
are looking forward to continuing the
prices should be rapidly coming down.
conversation about technology in forThere are several options for develestry with the ACF community.
oping a forest inventory from satellite
imagery and cruise data. The simplest is
Max Nova is
to use the satellite imagery to delineate
the founder of
SilviaTerra. He
stand bounds, stratify the stands and
spends his days
then work up the strata-level inventories
helping forestusing well-understood statistical methods
ers use technology
taught in most introductory biometrics
to improve forest
classes. To develop stand-level and substand level inventories requires more
management. Using
advanced statistical methods to ensure
satellites, cloud
an unbiased estimate.
computing and mobile technology, SilviaTerra
Consulting foresters hold a unique
has inventoried millions of acres of forest and
place in American forestry because of
helps the top U.S. timber companies use data
their role in helping manage small private
to achieve their forest management objectives.
lands. They translate the complexities of
Born and raised in Louisville KY, Max is a
forest development into the values of the
graduate of Yale University.
THE CONSULTANT

2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2018

From the Executive Director End Notes
From the President ACF: Forestry, Fellowship and Value
Sharing the Stories of the Trees: ACF Distinguished Forester Jim Able
Maple Syrup: A Steigerwaldt Family Tradition
The South Carolina Chapter and Forestry Students
The Association of Consulting Foresters Celebrates 70 Years
Carbon Offsets: A Viable Opportunity for Forest Landowners?
Changes of Biblical Proportions
Forests for Fish In Michigan, Foresters and Anglers are Learning from Each Other
Case Study: Richland Township Woods, North Central Indiana
Invasive Species 101
Evaluating Forest Inventory Technology for Small Landowners
Choosing the Right Accountant or Tax Preparer
The History of Forestry in Ireland
The American Oak Project Midleton Distillery Creates Rare Irish Whiskey to Promote Sustainable Forestry
Products & Services Marketplace
Index of Advertisers
Why not Surround Yourself with the Best?
The Consultant - 2018 - Intro
The Consultant - 2018 - cover1
The Consultant - 2018 - cover2
The Consultant - 2018 - 3
The Consultant - 2018 - 4
The Consultant - 2018 - 5
The Consultant - 2018 - From the Executive Director End Notes
The Consultant - 2018 - From the President ACF: Forestry, Fellowship and Value
The Consultant - 2018 - Sharing the Stories of the Trees: ACF Distinguished Forester Jim Able
The Consultant - 2018 - 9
The Consultant - 2018 - 10
The Consultant - 2018 - 11
The Consultant - 2018 - Maple Syrup: A Steigerwaldt Family Tradition
The Consultant - 2018 - 13
The Consultant - 2018 - 14
The Consultant - 2018 - 15
The Consultant - 2018 - The South Carolina Chapter and Forestry Students
The Consultant - 2018 - 17
The Consultant - 2018 - 18
The Consultant - 2018 - 19
The Consultant - 2018 - The Association of Consulting Foresters Celebrates 70 Years
The Consultant - 2018 - 21
The Consultant - 2018 - Carbon Offsets: A Viable Opportunity for Forest Landowners?
The Consultant - 2018 - 23
The Consultant - 2018 - 24
The Consultant - 2018 - 25
The Consultant - 2018 - 26
The Consultant - 2018 - 27
The Consultant - 2018 - Changes of Biblical Proportions
The Consultant - 2018 - 29
The Consultant - 2018 - 30
The Consultant - 2018 - 31
The Consultant - 2018 - 32
The Consultant - 2018 - 33
The Consultant - 2018 - Forests for Fish In Michigan, Foresters and Anglers are Learning from Each Other
The Consultant - 2018 - 35
The Consultant - 2018 - 36
The Consultant - 2018 - 37
The Consultant - 2018 - Case Study: Richland Township Woods, North Central Indiana
The Consultant - 2018 - 39
The Consultant - 2018 - Invasive Species 101
The Consultant - 2018 - 41
The Consultant - 2018 - 42
The Consultant - 2018 - 43
The Consultant - 2018 - Evaluating Forest Inventory Technology for Small Landowners
The Consultant - 2018 - 45
The Consultant - 2018 - 46
The Consultant - 2018 - Choosing the Right Accountant or Tax Preparer
The Consultant - 2018 - The History of Forestry in Ireland
The Consultant - 2018 - 49
The Consultant - 2018 - 50
The Consultant - 2018 - 51
The Consultant - 2018 - The American Oak Project Midleton Distillery Creates Rare Irish Whiskey to Promote Sustainable Forestry
The Consultant - 2018 - 53
The Consultant - 2018 - 54
The Consultant - 2018 - 55
The Consultant - 2018 - Products & Services Marketplace
The Consultant - 2018 - 57
The Consultant - 2018 - 58
The Consultant - 2018 - 59
The Consultant - 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Consultant - 2018 - 61
The Consultant - 2018 - Why not Surround Yourself with the Best?
The Consultant - 2018 - cover3
The Consultant - 2018 - cover4
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert1
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert2
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert3
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert4
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert5
The Consultant - 2018 - outsert6
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