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Open AccessArticle

Tree Root System Characterization and Volume Estimation by Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Quantitative Structure Modeling

1
Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Mailbox 115, 1431 Ås, Norway
2
Department of Mathematics, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 553, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland
3
Finnish Environment Institute, Mechelininkatu 34a, FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland
4
Finnish Geodetic Institute, Geodeetinrinne 2, FI-02431 Masala, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Forests 2014, 5(12), 3274-3294; https://doi.org/10.3390/f5123274
Received: 30 September 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 4 December 2014 / Published: 16 December 2014
The accurate characterization of three-dimensional (3D) root architecture, volume, and biomass is important for a wide variety of applications in forest ecology and to better understand tree and soil stability. Technological advancements have led to increasingly more digitized and automated procedures, which have been used to more accurately and quickly describe the 3D structure of root systems. Terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) have successfully been used to describe aboveground structures of individual trees and stand structure, but have only recently been applied to the 3D characterization of whole root systems. In this study, 13 recently harvested Norway spruce root systems were mechanically pulled from the soil, cleaned, and their volumes were measured by displacement. The root systems were suspended, scanned with TLS from three different angles, and the root surfaces from the co-registered point clouds were modeled with the 3D Quantitative Structure Model to determine root architecture and volume. The modeling procedure facilitated the rapid derivation of root volume, diameters, break point diameters, linear root length, cumulative percentages, and root fraction counts. The modeled root systems underestimated root system volume by 4.4%. The modeling procedure is widely applicable and easily adapted to derive other important topological and volumetric root variables. View Full-Text
Keywords: root biomass; tree root system architecture; terrestrial laser scanning; carbon cycle estimation; bioenergy; automatic tree modeling root biomass; tree root system architecture; terrestrial laser scanning; carbon cycle estimation; bioenergy; automatic tree modeling
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Smith, A.; Astrup, R.; Raumonen, P.; Liski, J.; Krooks, A.; Kaasalainen, S.; Åkerblom, M.; Kaasalainen, M. Tree Root System Characterization and Volume Estimation by Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Quantitative Structure Modeling. Forests 2014, 5, 3274-3294.

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