New Publication: Simone Vaccari Publishes Paper on Bias in LiDAR-Based Canopy Gap Fraction Estimates

Simone Vaccari of LTS has published a paper on bias in lidar-based canopy gap fraction estimates in Remote Sensing Letters.

Simone’s work using lidar in the context of forest biomass measurement is highly relevant to LTS’ REDD+ services.

The paper can be downloaded/purchased using the link below.

Vaccari, S., van Leeuwen, M., Calders, K., Coops, N. C., and Herold, M., 2013. Bias in lidar-based canopy gap fraction estimates, Remote Sensing Letters 4(4), pp. 391-399

Abstract: Leaf area index and canopy gap fraction (GF) provide important information to forest managers regarding the ecological functioning and productivity of forest resources. Traditional measurements such as those obtained from hemispherical photography (HP) measure solar irradiation, penetrating the forest canopy, but do not provide information regarding the three-dimensional canopy structure. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is an active sensor technology able to describe structural forest attributes by measuring interceptions of emitted laser pulses with the canopy and is able to record the spatial distribution of the foliage in three dimensions. However, due to the beam area of the laser, interceptions are detected more frequently than using conventional HP, and GF is typically underestimated. This study investigates the effects of laser beam area on the retrieval of GF by using morphological image processing to describe estimation bias as a function of canopy perimeters. The results show that, using canopy perimeter, improvements in correlation between HP and TLS can be achieved with an increase in the coefficient of determination R 2 up to 28% (from an original R 2 of 0.66 to an adjusted R 2 of 0.85).

Roll Out and Implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF)

The European Union has supported socio-economic and environmental initiatives in Kenya through the Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) since 1998. Through funding from the European Union, CDTF has implemented 4 Community Development Programmes, namely the Biodiversity Conservation Programme (BCP), Emergency Drought Programme Programme (EDP), Community Environment Facility (CEF), and Community Development Programme (CDP).


CDTF has developed an M&E framework that will enable CDTF to provide a broader range of services. The M&E framework is currently used:

i) To improve operations (e.g. identifying and addressing gaps/challenges in workplan implementation at project level);

ii) For accountability purposes (primarily to the BoT and Donors).

The M&E Framework document will, in itself, be insufficient to ensure effective M&E within CDTF. There is a need to operationalize the Framework by undertaking a number of activities that will ensure that the systems and processes are adequately institutionalized within CDTF and that there is sufficient capacity across the Programme for effective implementation.

LTS’ facilitation of the roll out process of the M&E framework for CDTF is enhancing monitoring and evaluation in the organisation in a manner geared towards steering managing processes away from a focus on activities and outputs towards realisation of higher level changes, such as in policy, behaviour, environment and livelihoods. LTS is also strengthening CDTF’s ability to monitor and evaluate CDTF interventions at programme and grantee levels not only for accountability and outputs but also for impacts, so as to realize institutionalisation of an enhanced Monitoring and Evaluation(M&E) System for CDTF; formulate a Systems Development Plan (SDP) and a Capacity Building (CB) Plan to address the technical needs and requirements of CDTF in project management and M&E; facilitate programme management (PM) and M&E-related capacity building activities for relevant CDTF PM and other partner agencies and institutions; and integrate the CDTF M&E framework with county government and overall National Plans.

Image Credit: Wajahat Mahmood