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Assessment of Light Environment Variability in Broadleaved Forest Canopies Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning

M3-BIORES, Biosystems Departement, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Willem de Croylaan 34, BE-3001, Leuven, Belgium
Nature and Landscape Research, Division Forest, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, BE-3001, Leuven, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2010, 2(6), 1564-1574;
Received: 27 April 2010 / Revised: 1 June 2010 / Accepted: 7 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Temporal Remote Sensing)
Light availability inside a forest canopy is of key importance to many ecosystem processes, such as photosynthesis and transpiration. Assessment of light availability and within-canopy light variability enables a more detailed understanding of these biophysical processes. The changing light-vegetation interaction in a homogeneous oak (Quercus robur L.) stand was studied at different moments during the growth season using terrestrial laser scanning datasets and ray tracing technology. Three field campaigns were organized at regular time intervals (24 April 2008; 07 May 2008; 23 May 2008) to monitor the increase of foliage material. The laser scanning data was used to generate 3D representations of the forest stands, enabling structure feature extraction and light interception modeling, using the Voxel-Based Light Interception Model (VLIM). The VLIM is capable of estimating the relative light intensity or Percentage of Above Canopy Light (PACL) at any arbitrary point in the modeled crown space. This resulted in a detailed description of the dynamic light environments inside the canopy. Mean vertical light extinction profiles were calculated for the three time frames, showing significant differences in light attenuation by the canopy between April 24 on the one hand, and May 7 and May 23 on the other hand. The proposed methodology created the opportunity to link these within-canopy light distributions to the increasing amount of photosynthetically active leaf material and its distribution in the considered 3D space. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D laser scanning; canopy; light modeling 3D laser scanning; canopy; light modeling
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Van der Zande, D.; Stuckens, J.; Verstraeten, W.W.; Muys, B.; Coppin, P. Assessment of Light Environment Variability in Broadleaved Forest Canopies Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 1564-1574.

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