We investigated the capabilities of a canopy height model (CHM) derived from aerial photographs using the Structure from Motion (SfM) approach to estimate aboveground biomass (AGB) in a tropical forest. Aerial photographs and airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data were simultaneously acquired under leaf-on canopy conditions. A 3D point cloud was generated from aerial photographs using the SfM approach and converted to a digital surface model (DSMP). We also created a DSM from airborne LiDAR data (DSML). From each of DSMP and DSML, we constructed digital terrain models (DTM), which are DTMP and DTML, respectively. We created four CHMs, which were calculated from (1) DSMP and DTMP (CHMPP); (2) DSMP and DTML (CHMPL); (3) DSML and DTMP (CHMLP); and (4) DSML and DTML (CHMLL). Then, we estimated AGB using these CHMs. The model using CHMLL yielded the highest accuracy in four CHMs (R2 = 0.94) and was comparable to the model using CHMPL (R2 = 0.93). The model using CHMPP yielded the lowest accuracy (R2 = 0.79). In conclusion, AGB can be estimated from CHM derived from aerial photographs using the SfM approach in the tropics. However, to accurately estimate AGB, we need a more accurate DTM than the DTM derived from aerial photographs using the SfM approach.
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