Using terrestrial laser scanner for estimating leaf areas of individual trees in a conifer forest

Peng Huang, Hans Pretzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A method that applies the terrestrial laser scanning to estimate leaf areas of individual trees in a mature conifer forest is presented. It is based on the theory of conventional optical LAI determinations, but refined for the inclusion of 3D depth information from the laser scanner. For each objective tree, we first used a single scan to measure local gap fractions beyond determined crown depths and combined this scan with other scans to delineate the geometrical dimensions of the crown. Then, through integrating the information from both aspects, the local leaf area density and the corresponding volume were derived. Finally, the total leaf area was obtained as the scalar product of these two variables. As most procedures were implemented on segmented 2D range images, the method possesses high efficiency. Additionally, through using gap fraction beyond determined crown depths, it solved the zero gap fraction problem encountered in segmented hemispherical photograph analysis. The method was tested on 11 trees in a 39 years old Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) stand located in southern Bavaria, Germany. Through correlation of the results with the estimates obtained with allometric equations, the accuracy was validated. The influence of the crown depth, for measuring gap fraction, and the segment size on estimation were also analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalTrees - Structure and Function
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Allometry
  • Gap fraction
  • Leaf area
  • Lidar
  • Norway spruce


Dive into the research topics of 'Using terrestrial laser scanner for estimating leaf areas of individual trees in a conifer forest'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this