Spatial variability in tropical forest leaf area density from multireturn lidar and modeling

Matteo Detto, Gregory P. Asner, Helene C. Muller-Landau, Oliver Sonnentag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Leaf area index and leaf area density profiles are key variables for upscaling from leaves to ecosystems yet are difficult to measure well in dense and tall forest canopies. We present a new model to estimate leaf area density profiles from discrete multireturn data derived by airborne waveform light detection and ranging (lidar), a model based on stochastic radiative transfer theory. We tested the method on simulated ray tracing data for highly clumped forest canopies, both vertically homogenous and vertically inhomogeneous. Our method was able to reproduce simulated vertical foliage profiles with small errors and predictable biases in dense canopies (leaf area index = 6) including layers below densely foliated upper canopies. As a case study, we then applied the method to real multireturn airborne lidar data for a 50 ha plot of moist tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. The method is suitable for estimating foliage profiles in a complex tropical forest, which opens new avenues for analyses of spatial and temporal variations in foliage distributions. Key Points A new method for estimating leaf area from multireturn lidar in complex forest Simulation data sets to test the inversion algorithm A case study of a moist tropical forest

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-309
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Volume120
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • complex forest
  • leaf area density
  • leaf area index
  • multireturn lidar
  • tropical forest
  • waveform lidar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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