This study offers an unprecedented opportunity to estimate total sapwood area over an entire catchment (Ascat/Ag) using small-footprint light detection and ranging technology with a minimal amount of labour in field. Forty-two-year-old plantations of Japanese cypress (Hinoki; Chamaecyparis obtusa Sieb. et Zucc.) and Japanese cedar (Sugi; Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) vegetated the 2.98ha experimental catchment. Field observations identified diameter at breast height (DBH) of all trees and produced the relationship between DBH and tree sapwood area (Astre). The sum of Astre generated actual values of Ascat/Ag. For light detection and ranging data analyses, local maximum filtering revealed height of tree apices (H) and tree number (N) with 9% omission errors. A novel process was developed to identify tree species by their apices based on height of the apices and canopy roughness. Four methods were tested. In Methods A-C, H was converted to Astre directly or via DBH, then, the sum of Astre created Ascat/Ag. H-Astre or H-DBH relationships were varied irrespective of labour-intensive measurements, and Ascat/Ag was underestimated up to 85% of actual value because of the smaller N. On the other hand, in Method D, ready-made stand density management diagrams (SDMDs) overestimated mean DBH. However, a product of overestimated mean Astre and the underestimated N was almost identical to the actual Ascat/Ag. The estimates were 84% and 95% of the true Ascat/Ag in Hinoki and Sugi, respectively, and the former will be more precise if the SDMD is suitable for the site as indicated through sensitivity analysis.
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