Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Statistics and Analytics (MS)

Degree Level



Statistics and Analytics


Kusum J. Naithani

Committee Member

Mark Arnold

Second Committee Member

Jack Cothren


canopy height, horizontal structural complexity, LiDAR, maximum canopy height, rugosity, vertical structural complexity


Understanding the effects of forest canopy structural complexity on multi-trophic diversity is critical for conserving biodiversity and managing land sustainably. But multi-trophic diversity is often ignored when making decisions about land management due to lack of cost- and time-effective methods to evaluate it. Here, we explored a new method based on widely available remote sensing data to quantify canopy structural complexity and its relationships with multi-trophic biodiversity at landscape scale using 32 forested sites of the National Ecological Observatory Network. We investigated the influence of vertical and horizontal structural complexity of forest canopy on multi-trophic (primary producers, herbivores (beetles), omnivores (birds)) diversity in forested ecosystems. We used plant presence, beetle pitfall trap, and bird count data to calculate species richness and species diversity, and high density LiDAR data for calculating structural complexity metrics of forest canopy. Our results show that species richness and diversity across all trophic levels generally increase with increasing vertical and horizontal structural complexity with highest diversity at intermediate levels of structural complexity, but these relationships differ across different forest types (deciduous, mixed, and evergreen). Our results highlight the importance of maintaining structural complexity in forest canopies for conserving multi-trophic biodiversity