Victoria’s largest acquisition of forest LiDAR

Friday 24 May 2019

Victoria’s largest ever acquisition of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data across 1.35 million hectares of Victorian public forests has just commenced. This work will provide important information for supporting decision-making during the RFA and forest modernisation process.

Mapping the location and density of high-conservation value forests, such as ecologically mature forests and rainforest, with the assistance of the LiDAR measurements provides the foundation for long-term monitoring programs and management strategies. It also helps us to manage threatened and endangered species reports the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in their April newsletter.

Identification and precise description of mature forests for the existing RFAs was carried out 20 years ago using aerial photographs and information about forest growth. Mapping quality was variable and since that time there has been no comprehensive mapping of Victoria’s mature forests.

DELWP have commissioned a comprehensive airborne LiDAR measurement program of Victoria’s forests. Their team will collaborate with researchers at the University of Melbourne to model and map the State’s forests to identify areas that are likely to contain high conservation values.

Tom Hill, Team Lead of the Forest Values Assessments says “data derived from LiDAR measurements, verified by on-the-ground surveys will allow us to create models that can be used to produce detailed, accurate forest maps.”

Focussing on public forests, it will identify areas with: rainforests; cool temperate mixed forests; giant trees; multi-aged stands; areas with old-growth trees which have suffered recent disturbance; and old-growth stands, where the influence of past disturbances is now negligible.

This work is an important step in informing the Forest Modernisation Program with best-practice science.

For further information on this project, visit

Source: The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

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