The long and short of it

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

By measuring the thickness of forest canopies, scientists get a fair idea about the species of animals and plants present therein. Earlier, ecologists took canopy measurements from the ground using a visual procedure called the MacArthur-Horn method. Researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US, have hit upon an alternative: a new technique using a laser radar or lidar, that makes the job easier. Carried in a plane flying overhead, the solid-state laser fires infrared pulses at the forest canopy and sensors in it spot reflections from each layer and from the ground. Providing 100 profiles per second, the technique can collect data on forest structure more quickly and cheaply.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.