discussion / Drones  / 5 April 2023

Advice on afforable LiDAR scanners for Amazon forest surveys

Dear all

Firstly, what a fantastic group! I love following the discussions on this site and am a true believer in the power of the crowd so am hoping someone might have the expertise to help answer my question!

I am hoping to get some advice about using LiDAR scanners for forest surveys in Amazonia. I have seen a lot of research that uses LiDAR to build point clouds from which tree measures (DBH, heights etc) can be taken for forest surveys but most of these use super expensive devices and for someone without experience using this tech it is difficult to tell what options are best so I thought I'd ask whether anyone here could recommend LiDAR devices that are a) affordable (<$1000), b) good for tree measures and that are c) easy to use. It'd also be helpful to get peoples' opinions on the use of UAV vs terrestrial scanners and whether the former would even work in dense tropical forest? One specific example I come across was the Livox MID series that are available for only $5-900 from DJI. However, they were developed for industrial use so I don't know if they would be used for forest surveys but am wondering if this might be a suitable option?

Well, I hope someone will be able to help, there must suerly be someone else who has used LiDAR so I look forward to any responses.



Hi Jeremy, 

With a quick search I've found the paper linked below. It looks like equipments such as Livox MID are sufficient for plot-level analyses, but not for individual trees. Also, it has performed worse in dense canopies and broadleaf forest, thus I believe we won't have a technology capable of doing what you aim for this amount of money (< $1000) in a few years from now.

I hope someone give us an alternative, though. :D