Applications of LIDAR in Wildlife Management : an opportunity in British Columbia Burns, Janice
British Columbia’s Wildfire Management Branch is undergoing a transformation from reactive to proactive fire management. They are seeking to prioritize fuel management treatments in the wildland-urban interface, and identify areas where it would be beneficial to monitor rather than suppress fire. This paper examines the uses of Lidar in fire science and investigates ways that Lidar could be used to improve fire management in British Columbia. Discrete return, ‘small footprint’ Lidar is a commonly used active remote sensing system in the natural resources field. It produces highly accurate measurements of forest structure in three-dimensions and fire management plans could benefit from using Lidar to locate and prioritize areas for fuel management treatments and prescribed burning. Fire analyses and suppression could benefit from improved fire growth information based on detailed measurements of canopy base height, crown bulk density, canopy height, ladder fuels, fuel size, vertical fuel continuity, and horizontal arrangement of fuels. These measurements can be used to create fuel maps which are suitable inputs for decision support systems that model fire behaviour and spread. Lidar data seems expensive, but it is worthwhile when it leads to reduced costs through improved decision making in wildfire management.
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