The R package FORTLS, developed by researchers from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in collaboration with researchers from the Universidade da Coruña and the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria (CSIC-INIA), was created with the objective of turning TLS into an operational tool in forest inventories.
In recent years, many technological advances have been made in forest monitoring and assessment, particularly in relation to remote sensing technologies. In the specific case of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), the high capacity of this device to rapidly, automatically and precisely (with millimetric resolution) represent surfaces of objects located in the immediate surroundings, makes it as one of devices with the greatest potential for use in forest inventories. However, TLS has still not been established as an operational tool for this purpose, mainly due to the lack of algorithms for obtaining variables related to forest attributes and difficulties in automating data processing.
The R package FORTLS was created with the objective of overcoming these handicaps, as its main function is to automate TLS point cloud data processing for forest inventory purposes. FORTLS also enables estimation of the main forest variables used in forest management. The speed of TLS data collection and the availability of this package for the subsequent data processing and analysis will shorten the time required for data acquisition and processing and will also allow sample sizes to be increased without a proportional increment in the associated costs. Due to these features, FORTLS is therefore of high potential value for use in forest inventories.
In addition, in order to facilitate its transfer to forest sector, FORTLS has been developed as an R package, as R is free statistical software which is accessible to any user interested in this tool (forest managers, timber industry, forest ICT companies, public administration, universities and research centres,…). In fact, the latest stable version of the package can be downloaded here, and the most up-to-date version is available here.
FORTLS has been developed at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, as a product of the collaboration between researchers from the Department of Agroforestry Engineering and the Department of Plant Production and Engineering Projects (Campus Terra) and from the Department of Statistics, Mathematical Analysis and Optimization (Campus Vida). Personnel from the Department of Mathematics of Universidade da Coruña and the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria (CSIC-INIA) have also contributed to the development of FORTLS.
For further information about the package and its installation, see the following links:
Molina-Valero, J.A., Ginzo Villamayor, M.J., Novo Pérez, A.M., Martínez-Calvo, A., Álvarez-González, J.G., Montes, F., Pérez-Cruzado, C. (2021). FORTLS: Automatic processing of TLS point cloud data for forestry purposes. R package version 1.0.2.
Molina-Valero, J.A., Ginzo Villamayor, M.J., Novo Pérez, M.A., Álvarez-González, J.G., Montes, F., Martínez-Calvo, A., Pérez-Cruzado, C. (2020). FORTLS: An R Package for Processing TLS Data and Estimating Stand Variables in Forest Inventories. In Environmental Sciences Proceedings (Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 38). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute