Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Use of Terrestrial Laser Scanning to update form factors for Dutch forests

Sustainable forest management requires a good measurement of standing timber volumes and volume increment rates. Tree volumes are estimated from information on diameter and height of the tree using so-called volume functions. The currently used volume functions are outdated and not derived from random sampling of trees. As accurate volume function are key to quantify tree and stand volumes, biomass and carbon content, updating the currently used volume functions is essential to the monitoring of forests.

In this thesis project we want to use terrestrial laser scanning, in combination with Quantitative structural modelling, to determine the volume of individual trees non-destructively, which offers the possibility to evaluate and update the form factor functions used in Dutch forest inventories.

This thesis will be supervised together with Jan de Ouden from the Forest & Nature Conservation group.


Evaluating and updating the form factors used in Dutch forest inventories is relevant for the National Forest Inventory and provisioning of data on carbon storage in forests.


  • Review literature on state-of-the-art on Terrestrial LiDAR for forestry applications, with focus on establishing volume functions.
  • Collect TLS data of selected trees in a number of selected plots
  • Evaluate (and update) volume functions used in Dutch forest inventories


  • Scripting skills (e.g. R, Python, MatLab, LaTeX) are a preference
  • Basic knowledge of forestry
  • Completion GRS-32306 Advanced Earth Observation
  • For fieldwork it may be handy to have a Dutch drivers license

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring