Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Renninger, Heidi

Committee Member

Poudel, Krishna

Committee Member

Yang, Yun

Committee Member

Rodgers, John C.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


Short rotation woody crops (SRWC) eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and hybrid poplar plantations were established in 2021 in Pontotoc and Oktibbeha counties of Mississippi to study the biomass potential of SRWC for biofuel production. We used a novel backpack LiDAR system to measure forest metrics and harvested sample trees to build aboveground biomass (AGB) and leaf area index (LAI) equations. The results showed that LiDAR-derived variables accurately estimated aboveground biomass (R2 =0.81 and 29.22 % RMSE). However, the LAI estimation results showed that the LiDAR metrics moderately explained field measurements of LAI (R2 =0.31 and 18.05% RMSE) for individual-trees and poorly explained plot-level LAI measured with the LAI-2200C (R2 =0.11 and 66% RMSE). The backpack LiDAR system can be valuable for forest managers and researchers, enabling non-destructive AGB and LAI estimation. However, further research is required to overcome its limitations and achieve precise measurements of AGB and LAI.