A comparison of different methods for assessing leaf area index in four canopy types

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Abstract

The agreement of Leaf Area Index (LAI) assessments from three indirect methods, i.e. the LAI–2200 Plant Canopy Analyzer, the SS1 SunScan Canopy Analysis System and Digital Hemispherical Photography (DHP) was evaluated for four canopy types, i.e. a short rotation coppice plantation (SRC) with poplar, a Scots pine stand, a Pedunculate oak stand and a maize field. In the SRC and in the maize field, the indirect measurements were compared with direct measurements (litter fall and harvesting). In the low LAI range (0 to 2) the discrepancies of the SS1 were partly explained by the inability to properly account for clumping and the uncertainty of the ellipsoidal leaf angle distribution parameter. The higher values for SS1 in the medium (2 to 6) to high (6 to 8) ranges might be explained by gap fraction saturation for LAI–2200 and DHP above certain values. Wood area index –understood as the woody light-blocking elements from the canopy with respect to diameter growth– accounted for overestimation by all indirect methods when compared to direct methods in the SRC. The inter-comparison of the three indirect methods in the four canopy types showed a general agreement for all methods in the medium LAI range (2 to 6). LAI–2200 and DHP revealed the best agreement among the indirect methods along the entire range of LAI (0 to 8) in all canopy types. SS1 showed some discrepancies with the LAI–2200 and DHP at low (0 to 2) and high ranges of LAI (6 to 8).

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Central European Forestry Journal

The Journal of National Forest Centre – Forest Research Institute Zvolen

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