Application of large GLAS footprint full waveform data on Savanna vegetation

Ehsan Khalefa, Heiko Balzter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Savannas cover approximately half of the African land surface and considered to be one of the most important, but least understood terrestrial ecosystems. Growing recognition of the importance of the structural component of savanna landscapes has highlighted the need to understand the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of woody plant structural diversity. The relatively new Ice, Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) and its sole onboard instrument, the Geosciences Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) has been an active area of research in recent years, specifically in temperate and boreal forests, but been insufficiently explored for ecological research in savanna ecosystems. The main objective of this research is to assess the ability of ICESat/ GLAS LiDAR full waveforms to retrieve canopy structure over savanna vegetation landscapes in Kruger National Park in South Africa to understand the landscape dynamics which has great implications for
land management. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument on ICESat provides various data products, of which GLA14 and GLA01 are of interest in this study. The GLA01 Level 1 product provides the transmitted and received waveform from the instrument, while the GLA14 Level 2 product is intended to represent the potential
complexities of returns from land. The results showed that the GLAS waveform data provides reasonable prediction for the savanna structural characteristics such as vegetation height and density which are comparable to the results obtained from airborne LiDAR data and field measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2011
EventSPIE Remote Sensing, Co-located with SPIE Security+Defence 2011 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 19 Sept 201122 Sept 2011


ConferenceSPIE Remote Sensing, Co-located with SPIE Security+Defence 2011
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address

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