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Vegetation Monitoring
Remote Sensing Team

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Contact VMaRS team scientists in Seattle:
Hans-Erik Andersen email 206-221-9034
Bob McGaughey email 206-543-4713

USDA Forest Service
University of Washington
PO Box 352100
Seattle, WA 98195-2100

Significant early publications
Andersen, H.-E., S.E. Reutebuch, and R.J. McGaughey. 2006. A rigorous assessment of tree height measurements obtained using airborne LIDAR and conventional field methods. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 32(5): 355-366.

Andersen, H.-E., R.J. McGaughey, and S.E. Reutebuch. 2005. Estimating forest canopy fuel parameters using LIDAR data. Remote Sensing of Environment 94(4):441-449.

Reutebuch, S.E., H.-E. Andersen, and R.J. McGaughey. 2005. Light detection and ranging (LIDAR): An emerging tool for multiple resource inventory. Journal of Forestry 103(6): 286-292.

Reutebuch, S.E., R.J. McGaughey, H.-E. Andersen, and W.W. Carson. 2003. Accuracy of a high-resolution LIDAR terrain model under a conifer forest canopy. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 29(5): 527-535.

McGaughey, R.J., W.W. Carson, S.E. Reutebuch, and H.-E. Andersen. 2004. Direct measurement of individual tree characteristics from LIDAR data. Proceedings of the Annual ASPRS Conference, Denver, May 23-28, 2004. American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Bethesda, MD.

McGaughey, R.J. 1998. Visulaizing the appearance of timber harvest operations. Journal of Forestry 96(6): 9-14.

The Use of High-Resolution Remotely Sensed Data in Estimating Crown Fire Behavior Variables, Joint Fire Science Program Project 01-0-4-07 Final Report.

The Vegetation Monitoring and Remote Sensing (VMaRS) team is a part of the Resource Monitoring and Assessment program within the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station. The VMaRS team has two scientists in Seattle, WA; two in Corvallis, OR; one in Portland, OR; and one in Olympia, WA. The team conducts research focused on two broad problems:
  • How can we provide essential information on the status, extent, and characteristics of forest and range land in the Pacific region and their change over time to decision makers?
  • How can we increase the efficiency and add value to inventory and monitoring efforts through the development of new tools, techniques, and methodology?
The first problem is addressed by work that integrates remotely-sensed data and field measurements to characterize conditions over large land areas and provide information to support land managers. Work related to the second problem involves the development of improved modeling and analytical approaches that combine site-specific field plot data with high-resolution, remotely-sensed data to develop spatial layers that depict geographically continuous models of forest attributes. Overall, the teamís work has resulted in broader use of high-resolution, remote-sensing technologies within the forestry sector.

Two team members, Hans-Erik Andersen and Bob McGaughey are located in Seattle, WA on the University of Washington campus.They participate in the Cooperative for Forest-Systems Engineering (FORSYS), a partnership between the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station and the University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and the Precision Forestry Cooperative (PFC) involving several industry, government, and academic partners. These cooperatives exist to address difficult problems in forestry through engineering research, development, and technology transfer. Forest Service researchers, University faculty, and students form the cooperative staff and participate in synergistic endeavors to discover, develop, adapt, and disseminate knowledge and technologies in forest-systems engineering and precision forestry.

Much of the work by the Seattle component of VMaRS focuses on using light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data for forestry applications (overview of LIDAR and the team's early research).

The following software tools, developed by Bob McGaughey are available:
These software packages are no longer supported but they may be useful for study:
  • PLANS -- Preliminary Logging Analysis System (info)
  • UTOOLS -- Landscape analysis and visualization software (info)
  • Canopy Fuel Estimator (CFE) (info)

This page was last updated on June 11, 2018 by Bob McGaughey