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Fast determination of light availability and leaf area index in tropical forests

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2002

Laurent Cournac
Affiliation:
CEA Cadarache, DSV/DEVM, Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie de la Photosynthèse, Batiment 161, 13108 Saint Paul Lez Durance Cedex, France
Marc-Antoine Dubois
Affiliation:
CEA Saclay, DSM/DRECAM, Service de Physique de l'Etat Condensé, L'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France
Jérôme Chave
Affiliation:
CEA Saclay, DSM/DRECAM, Service de Physique de l'Etat Condensé, L'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France Present address: CNRS-UPS UMR 5552, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Terrestre, 13 Avenue du Colonel Roche, B.P. 4072, 31029 Toulouse cedex 4, France
Bernard Riéra
Affiliation:
CNRS/URA 1183, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Générale, 4 avenue du Petit Château, 91800 Brunoy, France

Abstract

An important property of plant communities is the Leaf Area Index (LAI), which is the vertically integrated surface of leaves per unit of ground area. Leaves are the primary sites of photosynthesis and transpiration, thus the LAI, which conditions the light interception by the canopy, is directly related to carbon and water exchange with the atmosphere at the stand scale (McNaughton & Jarvis 1983). LAI also has an impact on tree growth through the interception of light. Light availability below canopies is the principal limiting factor of tree recruitment and growth in forests (Denslow et al. 1990). Several methodologies have been used for measuring LAI in the field. These can be classiffed in four categories (Marshall & Waring 1986): (1) direct measurements by litterfall collection or destructive sampling, (2) allometric correlations with variables such as tree height or tree diameter, (3) gap-fraction assessment (e.g. with hemispherical photographs), (4) measurement of light transmittance with optical sensors.

Type
Brief Report
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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