A Novel Approach to 3-D Change Detection in Multitemporal LiDAR Data Acquired in Forest Areas

Daniele Marinelli, Claudia Paris, Lorenzo Bruzzone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data have been widely used to characterize the 3-D structure of the forest. However, their use in a multitemporal framework has been quite limited due to the relevant challenges introduced by the comparison of pairs of point clouds. Because of the irregular sampling of the laser scanner and the complex structure of forest areas, it is not possible to perform a point-to-point comparison between the two data. To overcome these challenges, a novel hierarchical approach to the detection of 3-D changes in forest areas is proposed. The method first detects the large changes (e.g., cut trees) by comparing the Canopy Height Models derived from the two LiDAR data. Then, according to an object-based change detection approach, it identifies the single-tree changes by monitoring both the treetop and the crown volume growth. The proposed approach can compare LiDAR data with significantly different pulse densities, thus allowing the use of many data available in real applications. Experimental results pointed out that the method can accurately detect large changes, exhibiting a low rate of false and missed alarms. Moreover, it can detect changes in terms of single-tree growth, which are consistent with the expected growth rates of the considered areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8272508
Pages (from-to)3030-3046
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing
Issue number6
Early online date30 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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