NASA's Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) is a raster-scanning, waveform-resolving, green-wavelength (532 nm) lidar designed to map near-shore bathymetry, topography, and vegetation structure simultaneously. The EAARL sensor records the time history of the return waveform within a small footprint (20 cm diameter) for each laser pulse, enabling characterization of vegetation canopy structure and "bare earth" topography under a variety of vegetation types. A collection of individual waveforms combined within a synthesized large footprint was used to define three metrics: canopy height (CH), canopy reflection ratio (CRR), and height of median energy (HOME). Bare Earth Elevation (BEE) metric was derived using the individual small-footprint waveforms. All four metrics were tested for reproducibility, which resulted in an average of 95 percent correspondence within two standard deviations of the mean. CH and BEE values were also tested for accuracy using ground-truth data. The results presented in this paper show that combining several individual small-footprint laser pulses to define a composite "large-footprint" waveform is a possible method to depict the vertical structure of a vegetation canopy. ?? 2006 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.