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Several spaceborne and airborne lidar systems have been launched for vegetation canopy studies. Previous research has shown that lidars are useful tools for remote sensing of vegetation architecture. To support its Airborne Remote Sensing Program, the University of Nebraska has developed a multiwavelength airborne polarimetric lidar system. This system employs a Nd:YAG laser which emits radiation at two wavelengths: the fundamental at 1064 nm and the frequency-doubled at 532 nm. Both laser beams are highly linearly polarized (100: 1 extinction ratio) and have a beam divergence angle of ~4 mrad. The receiver consists of four channels, which enable dual-wavelength and dual-polarization detection. In addition to the polarimetric information that could be gathered, this lidar system also has ranging capability and is able to record the whole lidar waveform. Thus, our lidar is capable of performing studies of vegetation canopy structure as well as characterization of vegetation depolarization. The system has been packaged to fly aboard a Piper Saratoga aircraft from a height of 1000 m. In this paper, we will present the details of the lidar system design, instrumentation, the system alignment and preliminary ground test results.