Remote sensing: a digital look into the forests



    Study Group in LiDAR technology

  • Research

    We investigate the hypothesis that the LiDAR generates a relation “precision/efficiency” superior to that obtained by other forestry methodologies conventionally used to quantify and qualify forest biomass.


    Among the most promising applications in forest plantations stand out its use as:


    • A tool which replaces or complement the current methods of forest inventory with the potential to generate results at least equally precise and cheaper;
    • Mapping technique of phytosanitary characteristics and nutritional status of forest plantations, and;
    • Source of new biometric parameters for ecophysiological and biometrical surveys, such as leaf area index (LAI), biomass relations between crown and stem, and spatial efficiency of carbon stocking;


    The expected results in the current phase of our research include:


    1. A list of recommendations for LiDAR overflight missions that aim the generation of forest biometrical parameters;

    2. A set of routines for processing of the raw data generated by LiDAR technology and calculation of its primary biometric statistics;

    3. An initial list of primary biometric statistics that presents high correlation with qualitative and quantitative forest characteristics; and

    4. An indicative of the potential of this new technology to generate important ecophysiological and biometric parameters, such as leaf area index (LAI), biomass relations between crown and stem, and spatial efficiency of carbon stocking.

    ALS equipment (Airborne LiDAR System)

    LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)

    It is utilised in overflights which scan the terrestrial surface with pulses of laser light that are intercepted by vegetation, soil or any other hit element, creating a georeferenced points cloud (with known latitude, longitude and altitude).

    Points cloud


    Tridimensionally, this points cloud allows the generation of two strata of information: one with all intercepted points intercepted by soil, and the other with all points intercepted by vegetal coverage. The second stratum of information (vegetal coverage) works as a source for the estimation of the several biometric parameters used to investigate the applications and the research hypothesis.

  • Who we are

    A new line of research was created in 2009 in the Quantitative Methods Laboratory of the ESALQ/USP Forest Sciences Department, and since then it maintains a team of postgraduate students specialised in the application of the LiDAR technology in the forestry area, supervised by the Professor Luiz Carlos Estraviz Rodriguez.

  • Current members

    Prof. Dr. Luiz Carlos Estraviz Rodriguez

    Principal Investigator

    Associate professor at the University of São Paulo (USP) since 1999, with a doctorate in forest management and biometrics from the University of Georgia in the USA in 1993, a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of São Paulo in 1987 and a degree in agronomy from the State Univesity of Londrina in 1982, is currently Professor of forest economics and planning at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ) from the University of São Paulo, campus of Piracicaba, State of São Paulo. Has published 30 articles in specialised journals and more than 50 papers in Annals of events. Has written books, book chapters, and didactic and technical-scientific software in the area of forest economics and planning. Has supervised 20 master and doctors. Coordinates forest resources and forestry engineering research projects, with emphasis on forest planning, decision support systems, economic analysis, linear programming, forest management, project evaluation, and forest information technology. Invited by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, between July 2007 and July 2009, the period of creation of the Brazilian Forest Service, has implemented and managed the Planning Division of this new agency. From 2001 to 2005, was the first coordinator of the ESALQ/USP's Environmental Management course, the first in this area to be offered by a Brazilian public university. Was ESALQ/USP's postgraduate coordinator from 2005 to 2007. Forest planning databases and optimisation models specialist, has acted as an entrepreneur and consultant and helped to create the first Brazilian company in forest information technology.

    Prof. Dr. Eric Bastos Gorgens

    Associate Researcher

    Forestry engineer and passionate about the area he has chosen. Mineiro from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has graduated with honour and has obtained his master's degree in forest resources at the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), the state of Minas Gerais. In Piracicaba, has got a doctor's degree in forest resources from ESALQ. Has always sought to improve his skills through internships and complementary activities, which have allowed him to get involved in projects at CENIBRA, Arcelor Mittal, Suzano Papel e Celulose and Tree Software. From 2006 to 2011 worked in the Votorantim Metais and Companhia do Vale do Araguaia companies, holding the posts of junior engineer up to area coordinator. From 2009 to 2011 acted as a professor in disciplines in administration and agribusiness courses at Cethedral Univesity. In 2011, joined the LiDAR Technology Studies Group, visiting important research centres, among them the University of British Columbia, the Eastern University of Finland, and the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences.

    Dr. Jefferson Lordello Polizel

    Specialized Technician

    Has a degree in computer technology from the Methodist University of Piracicaba (2001), Specialisation in geoprocessing from the University of Campinas (2004), and a doctorate in physical geography from the University of São Paulo (2009). Currently, works as computer technician in the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture. Has experience in the areas of computer science, with emphasis in computer methodology and techniques, acting mainly in the following areas: remote sensing, forest inventory, forest management, aerial multispectral videography, geographic information system (GIS).

    Alexandre Pansini Camargo

    Master's Student

    Forestry engineer graduated in 2009 from ESALQ/USP, attending the master's degree course in forestry and forest Management from ESALQ/USP under the supervision of the Professor Luiz Carlos Estraviz Rodriguez, with the thesis theme "Use of ALS data for calibration and validation of images from remote sensors in stratification of Eucalyptus spp. reforestations in the State of São Paulo" in the Quantitative Methods Center of the ESALQ Forest Sciences Department. During graduation worked as an intern in the areas of wood technology, Pinus tapping, tissue culture and in vitro plant nutrition, and a brief experience with temporary immersion bioreactors. Has worked as forest researcher in Jari Celulose, Papel e Embalagens S/A for 2 years and 7 months, with rivers micro-basins monitoring, rainfall data collecting network, indication of chemical products for pest and disease control in forest nurseries, pest monitoring in field, issuance of agronomic prescriptions, and activities directly attended by the board of directors.

    Caio Hamamura

    Doctoral Student

    Has a degree in biological sciences from the University of São Paulo (2010) and master's degree in forest resources from the University of São Paulo (2013). Currently is partner in Atrium Forest Consulting. Has experience as professor, researcher and in information technology (IT), acting in the following areas: databases, remote sensing, data analysis, forest data, geoprocessing, landscape ecology, SQL relational database, data mining and analysis, linear programming (R, Octave and Python) for the development of algorithms and data analysis, development in Python, ASP C#, Java, VB, .NET, ArcObjects, VBA and DevExpress, data classification, Machine Learning and optimisation algorithms. Currently, works in Mobile development, PhoneGap, front-end (Angular JS and React JS) and back-end web systems (PHP, ASP.NET, Java, C++, Python).

    Daniel Papa

    Master's Student

    Embrapa Acre technology transfer analyst, specialist in forest management of Brazilian native species and graduated in forestry engineering (UNB). Currently is master's student in forest resources at ESALQ/USP with the project "Use of airborne LiDAR in the improvement of Modeflora technology in Forest Management Plans in the Amazon Forest".

    Gabriel Prata

    Doctoral Student

    Forestry engineer and master in forest sciences from ESALQ/USP, is specialist in forest insurance, area in which has been working for 10 years. Has experience in the area of forest economics, risk analysis, projects and forest Inventory. Also, works as environmental expert and evaluation engineer. Currently is doctoral Student of the ESALQ/USP Forest Sciences Department, with the project "Determination of the probability of fire occurrence in Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil and damage evaluation".

    Gustavo José Ferreira de Almeida

    Master's Student

    Forestry engineer graduated from Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture e currently Master's student of the forest resources graduate program in the same college. During the graduation worked mainly in the area of forestry and forest management, acting in forest implantation and management projects (installation and maintenance of experiments), fertilisation, forest inventory, genetical enhancement, native forests implantation and management and urban forestry. Has also developed project with forest nurseries (Van de Werf Boomkwekerij, Netherlands) and has acted in the forest management of an extractive reserve in the Amazon (RDS Uatumã, state of Amazonas). Has professional experience as rural properties appraiser and forest inventory, area in which worked for 4 years in Fibria Celulose S/A (Três Lagoas, state of Mato Grosso do Sul). Currently, develops master's dissertation with the title "Use of the terrestrial laser scanner in the estimation of biometric parameters in forest stands".

    Luísa Gurjão de Carvalho Amaral

    Master's student

    Forestry engineer graduated from University of Brasília (UnB) in 2014. Currently is master's student in forest resources in the area of forestry and forest Management of the University of São Paulo (ESALQ/USP), under the supervision of the Prof. Dr Luiz Carlos Estraviz Rodriguez. Her master's project is named "Rate of carbon stock accumulation in forest restoration areas using LiDAR technology". Has experience in Geographic Information Systems

    Thaís Hudari Abib

    Master's student

    Has bachelor's degree and licentiate degree in biological sciences from the University of Campinas. Specialist in environmental management from the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, ESALQ-USP (2016), with the monograph "Tree coverage of the Piracicaba urban micro-basins by means of geotechnologies", under the supervision of the Prof. Dr Demóstenes Ferreira da Silva Filho. Currently is a Master's student in Forest Resources in the area of forestry and forest management at ESALQ/USP, having as supervisor the Prof. Dr Luiz Carlos Estraviz Rodriguez. Her Master's project is based on the use of LiDAR technology for the edge effect analysis in planted and native forests.

  • Former members

    Danitiele Cristina França Laranja

    Julianne de Castro Oliveira

    Débora Romano Camilo Gonçalves

    André Gracioso Peres da Silva

    Tiago de Conto

    Samuel de Pádua C. E. Carvalho

    Carlos Alberto Silva

    Bruno Kanieski da Silva

    Edgar de Souza Vismara

    Ítalo Ramos Cegatta

    Tie Mendes Tavares

    Larissa Costa Santos

    Ana Sofía Gutierrez

    Marcelo Bonazza

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