DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — University of New Hampshire researchers are using laser imaging to help foresters track tree inventories, and hope to reach landowners to save them from the time-consuming practice of heading into the woods with tape measures.

Mark Ducey of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has been investigating how aerial and ground light detection and ranging — better known as LiDAR — can be used to provide more accurate and detailed information about forests. The technology maps three-dimensional land surface elevations.

Ducey says that can save time on routine tasks such as taking timber inventories in a state where forests cover 84 percent of the land.

Ducey and his research team have worked on projects in the White Mountain National Forest to see how LiDAR can help map rare plant communities, wildlife, soils and timber management.

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