Plant canopy gap-size analysis theory for improving optical measurements of leaf-area index
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Optical instruments currently available for measuring the leaf-area index (LAI) of a plant canopy all utilize only the canopy gap-fraction information. These instruments include the Li-Cor LAI-2000 Plant Canopy Analyzer, Decagon, and Demon. The advantages of utilizing both the canopy gap-fraction and gap-size information are shown. For the purpose of measuring the canopy gap size, a prototype sunfleck-LAI instrument named Tracing Radiation and Architecture of Canopies (TRAC), has been developed and tested in two pure conifer plantations, red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb). A new gap-size-analysis theory is presented to quantify the effect of canopy architecture on optical measurements of LAI based on the gap-fraction principle. The theory is an improvement on that of Lang and Xiang [Agric. For. Meteorol. 37, 229 (1986)]. In principle, this theory can be used for any heterogeneous canopies.
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