Regionalization of an Existing Global Forest Canopy Height Model for Forests of the Southern United States Academic Article uri icon


  • A large-scale global canopy height map (GCHM) is essential for global forest aboveground biomass estimation. Four GCHMs have recently been built using data from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) sensor aboard the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), along with auxiliary spatial and climate information. The main objectives of this research were to find out how well a selected GCHM agrees with airborne lidar data from locations in the southern United States and to recalibrate that GCHM to more closely match the forest canopy heights found in the region. The airborne lidar resource was built from data collected between 2010 and 2012, available from in-house and publicly available sources, for sites that included a variety of vegetation types across the southern United States. EPA ecoregions were used to provide ecosystem information for the southern United States. The airborne lidar data were pre-processed to provide lidar-derived metrics, and assigned to four height categoriesnamely, returns from above 0 m, 1 m, 3 m, and 5 m. The assessment phase results indicated that the 90th and 95th percentiles of the airborne lidar height values were well-suited for use in the recalibration phase of the study. Simple linear regression was used to generate a new, recalibrated GCHM. It was concluded that the characterization of the agreement of a selected GCHM with local data, followed by the recalibration of the existing GCHM to the local region, is both viable and essential for future GCHMs in studies conducted at large scales.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ku, N., Popescu, S., & Eriksson, M.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Ku, Nian-Wei||Popescu, Sorin||Eriksson, Marian

publication date

  • April 2021