Topological acoustic sensing of spatial patterns of trees in a model forest landscape

Trevor D. Lata, Pierre A. Deymier, Keith Runge, François Michel Le Tourneau, Régis Ferrière, Falk Huettmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Remote sensing of forest environments through sound holds promise for a renewed and extended effort in monitoring vegetation distribution and associated characteristics. Here we introduce a new acoustic sensing approach that exploits the geometric phase of ground-supported acoustic waves, such as seismic waves, resulting from their scattering by trees in forest environments. Using a simulated model forest with different spatial arrangements of trees as a testbed, we numerically calculate the geometric phase of acoustic waves and show that it is exquisitely sensitive to the spatial pattern of trees. This topological acoustic sensing modality provides a novel, quantitative, insightful way to characterize global properties of tree spatial distribution, which is fundamental to forest management. Sound has virtually never been used to support quantitative forest monitoring, and here we elaborate on the wider implications and applications of topological acoustic sensing in remote landscapes as a very promising concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108964
JournalEcological Modelling
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Acoustic
  • Density
  • Geometric phase
  • Landscape
  • Seismic waves
  • Sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Ecology


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