County wide canopy height maps for cental Florida

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addy
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County wide canopy height maps for cental Florida

Post by addy » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:42 pm

Using publically available LiDAR data I have constructed county wide canopy height maps for the following counties in central Florida: Marion, Lake, Volusia and I am currently working on one for Osceola County. If anyone is interested in having these, or any zoom on any particular area, let me know and we'll figure out the format and some method of transfer. They are quite large in size but I'm sure we can figure something out. Oddly complete coverage isn't available for Seminole and Orange counties despite them being the most populous by far.

Also: I've found a great freeware utility called PNGCRUSH for compressing the living @#$#%@ out of .png files, which is of great use in sharing graphics made form large LiDAR datasets:

https://pmt.sourceforge.io/pngcrush/

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dbhguru
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Re: County wide canopy height maps for cental Florida

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:54 am

Addy,

Thanks for the offer. Any conclusions from your scans that you'd be willing to share with us? Admittedly, for me, most of interior Florida is a mystery. I just don't know what to expect. I tend to think of Florida as saturated with retirees and senior citizen complexes gobbling up huge amounts of land. That's a prejudiced view. I realize that Florida has very high botanical diversity, but imagine much has been sacrificed for golf courses and manicured lawns. Florida's tall tree story is the greatest mystery of all to me. Descriptions from others have stressed the pervasive impact of hurricanes that presumably have left Florida with a short tree cover. Enlightenment would be most appreciated.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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addy
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Re: County wide canopy height maps for cental Florida

Post by addy » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:38 pm

In central Florida most of the remaining intact forested ecosystems are swamps, there's not much left of the uplands. Almost all of what is left of the uplands has all been logged for longleaf pine, and either exists as a species depauperate fast growing oak dominated configuration that is the result of fire suppression, or is a unique to Florida type of ecosystem called scrub that naturally doesn't get more than 80' in height (usually a lot less) and of which the largest surviving tract in Ocala National Forest is mostly managed as a 20-30 year cycle pulpwood tree farm. Although it does contain some undisturbed areas.

The literature talks about tree heights in the keys being limited to 40' by hurricanes but I don't recall reading any mentions of hurricane mediated canopy height limits for the rest of Florida. From the LiDAR data for central Florida anything over 100' in height is uncommon, over 120' is rare and over 130' is exceptionally rare. I've only noticed a few small areas with returns that high. The highest returns I've seen are 144' and appear to be slash or longleaf pines. Almost all the swamps were logged for cypress but the method used determines how much of the non-target species may be intact. The most interesting sites from a high canopy height perspective are along and around the Ocklawaha River, which was logged for cypress but unlike the St. John's River some 20 miles east of the Ocklawaha, it was logged from the channel using pullboats instead of the overhead skid & rail method which thoroughly levels the entire swamp and damages the hydrological connectivity by building rail grades everywhere.

There are also a number of high canopy height sites scattered in and around Ocala National Forest that appear to be mostly fairly isolated highly acidic wetlands called Bay Swamps that are develop at the bases of steep slopes, the edges of large basins, in isolated kart depressions and other stagnant wetlands with little flowing water. They're fed by seepage from surrounding uplands that keeps them almost always saturated but rarely flooded. Here's an example of one with canopy heights to 130':
PittmanSwampArmBehindWorkCenterCHM.PNG
There is an excellent land cover GIS data set for the entire state that when combined with USGS topo maps & LiDAR data makes it possible to rapidly zero in on the most interesting sites:

http://myfwc.com/research/gis/applicati ... Land-Cover

I've attached a personal hit list of sites in Lake & Marion county that look promising. I haven't been able to visit many of the sites I've singled out as interesting because of the canopy height as I don't have much time for tree hunting and access to some of these locations is difficult.
Attachments
MarionLakeSiteList.docx
List of sites in Lake & Marion county with high LiDAR returns.
(13.44 KiB) Downloaded 17 times

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