Determining leaf area index and leafy tree roughness using terrestrial laser scanning

E. Muller, A. S. Antonarakis, James Brasington, Keith S. Richards

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Vegetation roughness, and more specifically forest roughness, is a necessary component in better defining flood dynamics both in the sense of changes in river catchment characteristics and the dynamics of forest changes and management. Extracting roughness parameters from riparian forests can be a complicated process involving different components for different required scales and flow depths. For flow depths that enter a forest canopy, roughness at both the woody branch and foliage level is necessary. This study attempts to extract roughness for this leafy component using a relatively new remote sensing technique in the form of terrestrial laser scanning. Terrestrial laser scanning is used in this study due to its ability to obtain millions of points within relatively small forest stands. This form of lidar can be used to determine the gaps present in foliaged canopies in order to determine the leaf area index. The leaf area index can then be directly input into resistance equations to determine the flow resistance at different flow depths. Leaf area indices created using ground scanning are compared in this study to indices calculated using simple regression equations. The dominant riparian forests investigated in this study are planted and natural poplar forests over a lowland section of the Garonne River in Southern France. Final foliage roughness values were added to woody branch roughness from a previous study, resulting in total planted riparian forest roughness values of around Manning's n = 0.170-0.195 and around n = 0.245-330 for in-canopy flow of 6 and 8 m, respectively, and around n = 0.590 and around n = 0.750 for a natural forest stand at the same flow depths.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Resources Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2010


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