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Title: Estimation of leaf area index in isolated trees with digital photography and its application to urban forestry
Authors: Chianucci, Francesco
Puletti, Nicola
Giacomello, Elena
Cutini, Andrea
Corona, Piermaria
Keywords: Image analysis;Leaf area index;Urban greening;Vegetation index;Urban tree
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Chianucci, F. et al. 2015. Estimation of leaf area index in isolated trees with digital photography and its application to urban forestry. "Urban Forestry & Urban Greening" 14: 377–382
Accurate estimates of leaf area index (L) are strongly required for modelling ecophysiological processes within urban forests. The majority of methods available for estimating L is ideally applicable at stand scale and is therefore poorly suitable in urban settings, where trees are typically sparse and isolated. In addition, accurate measurements in urban settings are hindered by proximity of trees to infrastructure
elements, which can strongly affect the accuracy of tree canopy analysis.
In this study we tested whether digital photography can be used to obtain indirect estimate of L of isolated trees. The sampled species were Platanus orientalis, Liquidambar styraciflua and Juglans regia.
Upward-facing photography was used to estimate gap fraction and foliage clumping from images collected in unobstructed (open areas) and obstructed (nearby buildings) settings; two image classification
methods provided accurate estimates of gap fraction, based on comparison with measurements obtained from a high quality quantum sensor (LAI-2000). Leveled photography was used to characterize the leaf
angle distribution of the examined tree species. L estimates obtained combining the two photographic methods agreed well with direct L measurements obtained from harvesting. We conclude that digital
photography is suitable for estimating leaf area in isolated urban trees, due to its simple, fast and costeffective procedures. Use of vegetation indices allows extending significantly the applicability of the photographic method in urban settings, including green roofs and vertical greenery systems.
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ISSN: 1618-8667
DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2015.04.001
Appears in Collections:DiSAFRi - Archivio della produzione scientifica

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