Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2007, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 431-436.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2007.0052

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DYNAMICS OF LEAF AREA INDEX AND CANOPY OPENNESS FOR THREE FOREST COMMUNITIES IN THE WARM TEMPERATE ZONE OF CHINA

CHEN Sha1,2; SANG Wei-Guo1*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2007-05-30 Published:2007-05-30
  • Contact: SANG Wei-Guo

Abstract:

Aims Leaf area index (LAI) and canopy openness are two important biophysical parameters of canopy structure related to water and carbon fluxes and light interception. They are not only key variables in ecological and climate models, but also important indicators of forest ecosystem productivity. Accurate estimates of LAI and canopy openness are required in studies of ecophysiology, atmosphere-ecosystem interactions, and global change. Many researches have been done in Dongling Mountain in the warm temperate zone; however, fewer studies have focused on LAI and canopy openness. The objective of this study is to measure and analyze the dynamics of LAI and canopy openness of three typical forest communities in this area. Results will be useful in testing and validating LAI estimations based on remote sensing, providing reference for study of canopy heterogeneity and its effects and modeling carbon, water and energy fluxes from stand to landscape levels.
Methods We used hemispherical photographs taken from the ground through a fisheye lens for indirectly assessing LAI and canopy openness. Photos were taken in May, August, September and November 2005 in deciduous broad-leaved forest (DBF), Larix principis-rupprechtii forest (LF) andPinus tabulaeformis forest (PF).
Important findings The LAI of DBF and LF increased gradually with plant growth and development to August. The lowest value of canopy openness appeared in November. DBF maintained a higher LAI in August and was more open in November compared to LF. For PF, we observed few changes of LAI and canopy openness, which we attribute to leaf retention of this evergreen species. In all forests, canopy openness varied inversely with LAI. The correlation was exponential and significant; therefore, canopy openness is a good indicator of LAI in these forests .

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