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Forests: An International and Multi-disciplinary Scientific Open Access Journal
Forests 2010, 1(1), 4-24; doi:10.3390/f1010004
Article

A Methodology for Modelling Canopy Structure: An Exploratory Analysis in the Tall Wet Eucalypt Forests of Southern Tasmania

1
, 1,*  and 2
1 Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, ACTON, ACT 0200, Canberra, Australia 2 School of Plant Science, Private Bag 55, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 November 2009 / Revised: 19 January 2010 / Accepted: 28 January 2010 / Published: 1 February 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Abstract

A ground-based methodology is presented for spatially modelling forest canopy structure. Field measurements and allometric relationships are used to predict the profiles of free-growing tree crowns on the basis of stem diameter at breast height (dbh). These profiles are incorporated into three-dimensional canopy models using AutoCAD™ technical drawing software and field data describing the genus, dbh and relative positions of all trees greater than 10 cm dbh; critically, our models account for the effects of competition for light between neighbouring crowns. By horizontally partitioning the models, the presence of distinct strata and the dominant genera associated with each stratum can be identified. Our methodology is applicable to other forest ecosystems as a research tool for investigating changes in vertical structure, and for calibrating remote sensing technologies in order to map and monitor canopy structural variation across forested landscapes.
Keywords: stratification; foliage; tree crown; spatial models; AutoCAD stratification; foliage; tree crown; spatial models; AutoCAD
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Scanlan, I.; McElhinny, C.; Turner, P. A Methodology for Modelling Canopy Structure: An Exploratory Analysis in the Tall Wet Eucalypt Forests of Southern Tasmania. Forests 2010, 1, 4-24.

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