Effect of airborne laser scanning accuracy on forest stock and yield estimates

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
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Verkkokirja (424 KB, 86 s.)
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS , 6/2011
The main objective of the study was to assess the magnitude of uncertainty of airborne laser scanning (ALS) -based forest inventory data in forest net present value (NPV) computations. A starting point was the current state of change in operative forest-planning in which traditional standwise field inventories (SWFI) are being replaced by area-based ALS inventories (A_ALS). The more detailed objectives were as follows: 1) to investigate the significance of the accuracy of current (SWFI, A_ALS) and future (ALS individual tree detection (ITD)) forest inventory methodologies applied in the timing of simulated loggings and in NPV computations, 2) to compare the forest-planning inventory methods currently applied with respect to the accuracy of the timber assortment information derived, 3) to investigate the sources of uncertainty related to the estimation of timber assortment volumes and economic values in forest management-planning simulations and 4) to compare the uncertainty related to inventory accuracy, growth models and timber price development in NPV computations at the stand- and forest property-level, using various interest rates. The study was carried out, using empirical and simulated forest inventory data, forest management-planning calculations and Monte Carlo simulations. It was shown that forest inventory errors led to significant mistiming of simulated loggings and subsequent prominent losses in simulated NPV. The most significant source of error in the prediction of timber assortment outturns was SWFI and A_ALS inventory error. The errors related to stem distribution generation, stem form prediction and bucking simulation were significant but considerably lower in magnitude than the inventory error. A_ALS interpretation led to accuracy levels similar to or better than that of SWFI. At the stand-level the growth models used in forest-planning simulation computations were the greatest source of uncertainty with respect to NPVs computed throughout the rotation period. Uncertainty almost as great was caused by A_ALS and SWFI data uncertainty, while the uncertainty caused by fluctuation in timber prices was considerably lower in magnitude. Forest property level deals with a considerably lesser degree of NPV deviation than does stand-level: A_ALS inventory errors were the most prominent source of uncertainty, leading to a 5.1-7.5% relative deviation in property-level NPV when an interest rate of 3% was applied. A_ALS inventory error-related uncertainty resulted in significant bias in property-level NPV estimates. The study forms a basis for developing practical methodologies for taking uncertainty into account in forest property valuation.
Supervising professor
Viitanen, Kauko, Prof.
Thesis advisor
Viitanen, Kauko, Prof.
forest property valuation, net present value, forest management planning, forest inventory, airborne laser scanning, Monte Carlo simulation
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: Markus Holopainen and Mervi Talvitie. 2006. Effect of data acquisition accuracy on timing of stand harvests and expected net present value. Silva Fennica, volume 40, number 3, pages 531-543. © 2006 by authors.
  • [Publication 2]: Markus Holopainen, Antti Mäkinen, Jussi Rasinmäki, Juha Hyyppä, Hannu Hyyppä, Harri Kaartinen, Risto Viitala, Mikko Vastaranta, and Annika Kangas. 2010. Effect of tree-level airborne laser-scanning measurement accuracy on the timing and expected value of harvest decisions. European Journal of Forest Research, volume 129, number 5, pages 899-907.
    DOI: 10.1007/s10342-009-0282-6. View at publisher
  • [Publication 3]: Markus Holopainen, Antti Mäkinen, Mikko Vastaranta, Jussi Rasinmäki, Juha Hyyppä, Hannu Hyyppä, and Petri Rönnholm. 2008. Utilization of tree species stratum data in forest planning simulations. In: Ross Hill, Jackie Rosette, and Juan Suárez (editors). Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on LiDAR Applications in Forest Assessment and Inventory (Silvilaser 2008). Edinburgh, UK. 17-19 September 2008. Pages 458-466. ISBN 978-0-85538-774-7. © 2008 by authors.
  • [Publication 4]: Markus Holopainen, Mikko Vastaranta, Jussi Rasinmäki, Jouni Kalliovirta, Antti Mäkinen, Reija Haapanen, Timo Melkas, Xiaowei Yu, and Juha Hyyppä. 2010. Uncertainty in timber assortment estimates predicted from forest inventory data. European Journal of Forest Research, volume 129, number 6, pages 1131-1142.
    DOI: 10.1007/s10342-010-0401-4. View at publisher
  • [Publication 5]: Markus Holopainen, Antti Mäkinen, Jussi Rasinmäki, Kari Hyytiäinen, Saeed Bayazidi, and Ilona Pietilä. 2010. Comparison of various sources of uncertainty in stand-level net present value estimates. Forest Policy and Economics, volume 12, number 5, pages 377-386.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2010.02.009. © 2010 Elsevier Science. By permission. View at publisher
  • [Publication 6]: Markus Holopainen, Antti Mäkinen, Jussi Rasinmäki, Kari Hyytiäinen, Saeed Bayazidi, Mikko Vastaranta, and Ilona Pietilä. 2010. Uncertainty in forest net present value estimations. Forests, volume 1, number 3, pages 177-193.
    DOI: 10.3390/f1030177. © 2010 by authors. View at publisher