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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 83 No. 5, p. 818-825
    Received: Sept 17, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):


Instrument for Indirect Measurement of Canopy Architecture

  1. J. M. Welles  and
  2. J. M. Norman
  1. L I-COR, Inc., 4421 Superior St., Lincoln, NE 68504
    D ep. of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706



Leaf area index (LAI) and leaf angle distribution are widely used indices of vegetative canopy structure that are difficult to measure directly. This study was conducted to test a commercially available instrument for rapidly determining LAI and foliage inclination information from “fisheye” measurements of light interception. The instrument's estimates of LAI are compared with direct measurements in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and prairie grass. The dominant grass species in the plots were Indian grass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash], switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman). The instrument's LAI resolution was better than 3%, and its LAI error was generally less than 15%. Variations in sky brightness patterns caused variations in LAI estimates in winter wheat of less than 10%, and the presence of direct solar radiation increased LAI errors to more than 30% in canopies of differing species and LAI. In the presence of gaps in the canopy, the sensor's azimuthal view should be reduced. A simple test indicates if a canopy's gaps are significant.

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