Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (10): 1200-1218.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0247

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Three-dimensional radiative transfer modeling of forest: recent progress, applications, and future opportunities

WANG Jia-Tong1,2, NIU Chun-Yue1, HU Tian-Yu1,2, LI Wen-Kai3, LIU Ling-Li1,2, GUO Qing-Hua4, SU Yan-Jun1,2,*()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    4Institution of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Ecology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2022-06-14 Accepted:2022-08-17 Online:2022-10-20 Published:2022-09-28
  • Contact: *SU Yan-Jun ORCID:0000-0001-7931-339X(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871332);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901358);Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23080301)


Solar radiation is fundamental to the maintenance and development of forest ecosystem functions and services. Therefore, modeling the radiation transfer process in forest is of great significance for understanding forest ecosystem processes. In recent years, the rapid development of three-dimensional radiative transfer models makes it possible to accurately simulate the distribution and dynamics of radiation within forest canopies. In order to better understand three-dimensional radiative transfer models and make them better serve forest ecosystem research, we review the principles, applications and future prospects of these models. Firstly, common principles of three-dimensional radiative transfer models such as radiosity and ray tracing are briefly introduced, and then the applications of three-dimensional radiative transfer models in forest ecosystem research are summarized. Finally, future opportunities of integrating multiple datasets and models to better facilitate forest ecosystem research, such as model coupling and making various models easier to use, are discussed. With the accumulation of ecological big data and improvement of ecosystem progress models, three-dimensional radiative transfer models will play a more important role in theoretical research and practices of forest ecology in the future.

Key words: light detection and ranging, three-dimensional radiative transfer model, forest ecosystem progress, forest structural attributes