Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning in Forest Conservation

30 November 2023

3D laser scanning is a cutting-edge technology that has revolutionised how we capture and visualise the world. By using laser beams to measure the distances and shapes of objects, structures, and landscapes, it creates exact, three-dimensional representations. 

This non-invasive technique excels in capturing intricate details, making it indispensable in fields like architecture, construction, archaeology, and environmental conservation. Its applications range from creating intricate digital replicas of historical artifacts to mapping forests, aiding in preserving natural ecosystems. 

3D scanning in forest conservation can solve a lot of problems. For instance, with 3D laser scanning services, engineers can navigate through dense vegetation and uneven terrain. It is a time-effective way to get through thick canopies while offering a panoramic view of the area for the best data insights. 

How 3D laser scanning would help in forest conservation? 

In forest conservation, 3D laser scanning has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding, protecting, and managing critical ecosystems. In this technique, a laser scanner emits laser beams that bounce off environmental surfaces and return to the scanner. 

By precisely measuring the time it takes for the laser pulses to return, the scanner calculates the distance to the objects and creates a point cloud. Point Cloud is a collection of data points that form an accurate 3D representation of the forest. 

These point clouds are so detailed that they can capture the shape and structure of trees, understory vegetation, and the forest floor with exceptional precision.

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning 

Forest conservation is becoming increasingly complex due to deforestation, forest fires, illegal poaching and logging activities. It is essential for forest authorities to keep an eye out for such issues, and 3D laser scanning can help capture critical data points necessary for forest conservation. 

Some of the advantages of 3D laser scanning, as opposed to the more traditional scanning methods, are discussed below: 

Effective Forest Mapping

Forest mapping refers to gauging the terrain and topography of the forest land. The more traditional survey methods usually take days to cover the expansive forest. The thick vegetation and uneven terrain pose further obstacles in the process. This gives environmentalists and engineers a hard time capturing and mapping the forest accurately. 

3D laser scanning is a game changer in understanding and managing forests. With the data points and point clouds collected from 3D scanning, engineers can quickly identify the forest topography, land elevations, tree density, etc. 

3D scanning is vital for land planners, researchers, and engineers to understand the forest terrain and plan sustainable forest management. It contributes to biodiversity conservation, assessing the impact of climate change, identifying potential hazards and more. 

Identifying Deforestation Sites

Deforestation is a significant problem that can lead to sudden climate change, increase in temperature and loss of flora and fauna. Illegal logging can also cause accidents landslides, and destroy the terrain. 

3D laser scanning helps identify such deforestation sites. This early detection is instrumental in preventing further deforestation, preserving biodiversity, and maintaining the vital carbon sequestration function of forests. 3D laser scanning empowers conservationists and authorities to take timely action in safeguarding these precious ecosystems, making it an indispensable tool in the fight against deforestation.

Monitoring Biodiversity

Biodiversity management is another crucial aspect of forest conservation that 3D scanning can help with. With 3D laser scanners, authorities can scan thick vegetation to identify various plant and animal species. It can enable watching endangered birds, insects and other exotic creatures. 

The best thing about 3D laser scanning is that it is non-invasive and requires minimal manual intervention. Environmentalists and researchers can further use these data points and 3D images to check the health and longevity of species. 

Detecting Potential Forest Fires

One of the most significant risks in forest conservation is detecting hazards such as forest fires and landslides. These hazards can damage acres of land and destroy various plants and animal species. 

3D laser scanning helps to identify such potential threats and resolve them before any damage occurs. In this method, engineers can scan and replicate the forest floor into detailed 3D images. Digital rendering and scanning then give insights into land elevation, soil quality, terrain, vegetation, etc. 

Researchers can compare 3D laser scans done over some time to assess any potential threats, tree decay, unstable slopes, etc. 3D scanning also assists in modelling fire behaviour and predicting the paths it can spread to. With these insights, conservationists can easily prevent these hazards and mitigate the risks. 

Monitoring Carbon Sequestration

Carbon sequestration is storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and preventing it from being released into the air. This process reduces the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and helps mitigate the risks of climate change. 

Here are some ways in which 3D laser scanning helps monitor carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gases. 

Forest Mapping and Biomass Estimation: 3D laser scanning provides detailed forest maps that capture the size of the terrain, vegetation, density of trees, etc. This data helps environmentalists estimate the carbon content of forests and calculate the forest biomass. 

Carbon Monitoring: Regular 3D scanning of the same forest floor helps researchers monitor any changes in the carbon levels and overall health of the forest. It helps track the effectiveness of carbon sequestration methods and highlight areas needing restoration. 

Climate Change Mitigation: Comparing and analysing carbon levels and biomass in the forest helps researchers understand the effects of climate change. 3D laser scans and heat maps also help in tracking the forest temperature and ensuring that it doesn’t reach dangerous levels. 

3D Laser Scanning Services by Avian

AEC industries in Australia are now depending on drone and 3D laser scanning services to scan and capture sites. 3D scanning is an affordable and quick way to check acres of land without having to spend a lot of time. 

Get in touch with Avian today to book your first free consultation! We have a team of land surveyors and AEC professionals to help you with all your scanning and surveying needs. 

Author Bio of Chris Patchell

Source: Avian

Read More

New tool to manage forestry slash

Better management of forest felling waste has gained new impetus in Cyclone Gabrielle’s wake, with the sector firmly in the spotlight for the impact such waste has had on communities, ecosystems, and farmland downstream from harvest areas. Rotorua-based forest management ...
Read more

New multi-species carbon calculator available

A new multi-species carbon calculator developed by Mark Kimberley and Michael Watt to support grower decision-making is freely available on the Forest Growers Research website ( Multi-Species Carbon Calculator ( The calculator predicts growth metrics for eleven species that include ...
Read more

JOUAV unveils advanced airborne Lidar sensor

JOUAV has released the JoLiDAR-1000 Lidar sensor designed specifically for uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs or ‘drones’) as the latest addition to its array of high-performance Lidar sensors for use in UAV applications such as GIS, surveying and precision powerline inspections. ...
Read more

Wingtra debuts pioneering Lidar drone solution

Wingtra has unveiled its innovative Lidar-drone solution. The new Lidar payload is designed to seamlessly integrate the efficiency, ease of operation, and high accuracy of the WingtraOne GEN II drones with an advanced Wingtra-engineered Lidar sensor, offering notable advancements in ...
Read more

Trimble and DroneDeploy improved UAV mapping

Trimble has unveiled the integration of the Trimble Applanix POSPac Cloud post-processed kinematic (PPK) GNSS positioning service, featuring CenterPoint RTX, with the UAV-based mapping and data collection capabilities of DroneDeploy’s reality capture platform. With the Trimble cloud positioning service, DroneDeploy ...
Read more

Blue gum expansion & mechanised planting planned

Australia’s dwindling timber reserves could be exhausted in less than a decade, but industry experts are hoping a new native nursery in Western Australia could help ease the pressure. In the coastal city of Albany, 450 kilometres south of Perth, ...
Read more