A methodology is presented that describes the direct interaction of a forest canopy with incoming radiation using terrestrial LiDAR based vegetation structure in a radiative transfer model. The proposed ‘Voxel-based Light Interception Model’ (VLIM) is designed to estimate the Percentage of Above Canopy Light (PACL) at any given point of the forest scene. First a voxel-based representation of trees is derived from terrestrial LiDAR data as structural input to model and analyze the light interception of canopies at near leaf level scale. Nine virtual forest stands of three species (beech, poplar, plantain) were generated by means of stochastic L-systems as tree descriptors. Using ray tracer technology hemispherical LiDAR measurements were simulated inside these virtual forests. The leaf area density (LAD) estimates derived from the LiDAR datasets resulted in a mean absolute error of 32.57% without correction and 16.31% when leaf/beam interactions were taken into account. Next, comparison of PACL estimates, computed with VLIM with fully rendered light distributions throughout the canopy based on the L-systems, yielded a mean absolute error of 5.78%. This work shows the potential of the VLIM to model both instantaneous light interception by a canopy as well as average light distributions for entire seasons.
D Van der Zande, J Stuckens, WW Verstraeten, S Mereu, B Muys, P Coppin. 3D modeling of light interception in heterogeneous forest canopies using ground-based LiDAR measurements.
published, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation, 2011, 13