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Spatial quantification of leafless canopy structure in a boreal birch forest

Reid, T.D.; Spencer, M.; Huntley, B.; Essery, R.; Carle, J.; Holden, R.D.; Baxter, R.; Rutter, N.

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T.D. Reid

M. Spencer

R. Essery

J. Carle

R.D. Holden

N. Rutter


Leafless deciduous canopies in boreal regions affect the energy available for snowmelt and reduce overall surface albedo during winter, thereby exerting a strong influence on weather and climate. In this work, ground-based measurements of leafless canopy structure, including hemispherical photography, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and manual tree surveys were collected at 38 sites in an area of mountain birch forest in northern Sweden in March 2011 and 2012. Photo-derived sky view fraction was strongly inversely correlated (r < −0.9) to the total tree basal area in a 5 m radius around the photo site. To expand findings to wider areas, maps of canopy height for a 5 km × 3 km area were obtained from airborne lidar (ALS) data collected during summer 2005. Canopy heights derived from TLS were used to validate the ALS estimates, and simple models were developed to establish relationships between hemispherical sky view and ALS canopy height (RMSE < 5%). The models and ALS data provide useful methods for estimating canopy radiative transfer and biomass over wide areas of birch forest, despite the relatively low ALS resolution (∼1 return m−2).


Reid, T., Spencer, M., Huntley, B., Essery, R., Carle, J., Holden, R., …Rutter, N. (2014). Spatial quantification of leafless canopy structure in a boreal birch forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 188, 1-12.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 15, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 29, 2014
Journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Print ISSN 0168-1923
Electronic ISSN 1873-2240
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 188
Pages 1-12
Keywords Boreal forests, Snow, Canopy radiative transfer, Airborne lidar, Terrestrial laser scanning, Hemispherical photography.


Accepted Journal Article (1.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 188, 2014, 10.1016/j.agrformet.2013.12.005.

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