14 Jul 2021

14 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

EcoDes-DK15: High-resolution ecological descriptors of vegetation and terrain derived from Denmark's national airborne laser scanning data set

Jakob J. Assmann1, Jesper E. Moeslund2, Urs A. Treier1,3, and Signe Normand1,3 Jakob J. Assmann et al.
  • 1Department of Biology - Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Aarhus University, Aarhus, 8000, Denmark
  • 2Department of Bioscience - Biodiversity, Aarhus University, Rønde, 8410, Denmark
  • 3Department of Biology - Center for Sustainable Landscapes Under Global Change, Aarhus University, Aarhus, 8000, Denmark

Abstract. Biodiversity studies could strongly benefit from three-dimensional data on ecosystem structure derived from contemporary remote sensing technologies, such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). Despite the increasing availability of such data at regional and national scales, the average ecologist has been limited in accessing them due to high requirements on computing power and remote-sensing knowledge. We processed Denmark's publicly available national Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data set acquired in 2014/15 together with the accompanying elevation model to compute 70 rasterized descriptors of interest for ecological studies. With a grain size of 10 m, these data products provide a snapshot of high-resolution measures including vegetation height, structure and density, as well as topographic descriptors including elevation, aspect, slope and wetness across more than forty thousand square kilometres covering almost all of Denmark's terrestrial surface. The resulting data set is comparatively small (~ 87 GB, compressed 16.4 GB) and the raster data can be readily integrated into analytical workflows in software familiar to many ecologists (GIS software, R, Python). Source code and documentation for the processing workflow are openly available via a code repository, allowing for transfer to other ALS data sets, as well as modification or re-calculation of future instances of Denmark’s national ALS data set. We hope that our high-resolution ecological vegetation and terrain descriptors (EcoDes-DK15) will serve as an inspiration for the publication of further such data sets covering other countries and regions and that our rasterized data set will provide a baseline of the ecosystem structure for current and future studies of biodiversity, within Denmark and beyond.

Jakob J. Assmann et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-222', Vitezslav Moudry, 10 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-222', Yifang Shi, 13 Aug 2021

Jakob J. Assmann et al.

Data sets

EcoDes-DK15: High-resolution ecological descriptors of vegetation and terrain derived from Denmark’s national airborne laser scanning data set Jakob J. Assmann, Jesper E. Moeslund, Urs A. Treier, Signe Normand

Jakob J. Assmann et al.


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Short summary
In 2014 and 2015, the Danish government scanned the whole of Denmark using laser scanners on planes. The information can help biologists learn more about Denmark's natural environment. To make it easier to access the outputs from the scan, we divided the country into 10 m x 10 m squares and summed up the information most relevant to biologists for each square. The result is a set of 70 maps describing the 3D architecture of the Danish landscape and vegetation.