Lidar detects urban tree density

Urbanisation, deforestation and rapid technological advancements over the last century have consequently lead to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Researchers at University College London are using a combination of cutting-edge ground-based and airborne laser scanning techniques, to measure the biomass of urban trees much more accurately. Lidar – which is primarily known for its use on autonomous vehicles – sends out hundreds of thousands of pulses of laser light every second and measures the time taken for reflected energy to return from objects up to hundreds of metres away.

The data shows that some pockets of London have a median carbon density of around 50 tonnes of carbon per hectare (t/ha), rising to 380 t/ha in spots such as cemeteries – that’s equivalent to values seen in temperate and tropical rainforests.

By understanding this data, local governments can strategise an effective plan of attack against carbon by planting trees in the areas that most need them. Using technology to help nature and the human quality of life is the direction the world should always be headed towards.

Read More: The Conversation / Fast Company / Journal

Image: Point cloud of Russell Square by kungphil on Sketchfab

This story is taken from the 29 June 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.