Saturday, 25 June 2016

New papers from the group

Three new papers from our group, either from our work directly, or members of the team working with colleagues elsewhere. First up is Phil's paper written when he was in Australia, on characterising the vertical structure of forest canopies using airborne lidar data via a new metric, the Number of Strata (NOS). Phil et al.'s analysis shows that NOS can be a useful descriptor of canopy structure to complement canopy height and cover. They also propose this might be useful as a candidate Ecological Biodiversity Variable (EBV) for characterizing habitat structure.

Next we have work led by Sébastien Bauwens in University of Liège, and involving our own Kim Calders and colleagues from Wageningen University, comparing mobile hand-held and static TLS for forest inventory work, such as estimating canopy DBH rapidly across field plots. Their work shows that low-cost hand-held scanners can be a useful tool to supplement more expensive, longer range TLS instruments for DBH, particularly if speed is a key constraint, but struggle with height due to their much lower range.  

Lastly, we have a paper in PLOS One by former UCL postdoc Aida Cuni-Sanchez, with colleagues from the Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux and the Institute de Recherche en Ecologie Tropicale in Gabon and myself, Andy Burt, Kim Calders, Jose Gomez-Dans and Simon Lewis from UCL. Aida's paper presents work quantifying forest-savannah boundary dynamics over 20 years. Our contribution was to use our TLS to characterise the vertical forest structure quantitatively, allowing differentiation of forest types across these boundaries. Aida shows how colonising forests show much slower changes in biodiversity than structure or AGB. Aida also shows that all the forest types studied store substantial quantities of carbon.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Name-checked by Chris Packham and Frank Skinner!

Nic Stacey, who directed the Oak Tree documentary for Furnace TV we were involved in, alerted me to the fact that our work on that got a very nice mention by Chris Packham on Frank Skinner's weekly  On Demand With ... roundup of BBC highlights on the iPlayer. Both of them picked up on the number of leaves and seemed amused by the thought of me counting the leaves by hand. In practice, counting leaves like that is anything but amusing ;-) Hey ho, that's what the lidar is for I guess! Link to the program here, and from about 02:20 in: It was also great to see that the documentary won a Royal Television Society award for Best Science and Nature programme. It's good to see Nic, Paul Sen, George McGavin and Furnace getting recognised for this, a really gripping and beautifully-made programme.