Based on the laser point clouds of 240 individual trees that were also identified in the field, we developed decision trees to distinguish deciduous and coniferous trees and individual tree species: Picea abies, Larix decidua, Pinus sylvestris, Fagus sylvatica, Acer pseudoplatanus, Fraxinus excelsior. The volume of the upper part of the tree crown (height of 3 m) and the average intensity of the laser reflections were used as explanatory variables. There were four aerial laser datasets: May 2012, September 2012, March 2013 and July 2015. We found that the combination of the volume and the average intensity of the first three laser datasets was the most reliable for predicting the selected tree species (60% model performance). A slightly poorer model performance was obtained if only the average intensity of the first three datasets was used (54% model performance). The worst model performance was given by the intensities (31 % model performance) or the volumes (21 % model performance) of dataset 4, which represents the national laser scanning of Slovenia (LSS). The best performing was the deciduous and coniferous separation, which achieved 75% and 95% success based on the test data (combination of volume and average intensity of the first three laser datasets). Using only the LSS intensities, deciduous and coniferous trees could be separated with 81% success.

Key words: lidar, intensity, the geometry of tree, tree species, machine learning, decision tree