Coupling fine-scale root and canopy structure using ground-based remote sensing

  • Authors: Hardiman, Brady; Gough, Christopher; Butnor, John; Bohrer, Gil; Detto, Matteo; Curtis, Peter
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Remote Sensing
  • DOI: 10.3390/rs9020182

Abstract

Ecosystem physical structure, defined by the quantity and spatial distribution of biomass, influences a range of ecosystem functions. Remote sensing tools permit the non-destructive characterization of canopy and root features, potentially providing opportunities to link above- and belowground structure at fine spatial resolution in functionally meaningful ways. To test this possibility, we employed ground-based portable canopy LiDAR (PCL) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) along co-located transects in forested sites spanning multiple stages of ecosystem development and, consequently, of structural complexity. We examined canopy and root structural data for coherence (i.e., correlation in the frequency of spatial variation) at multiple spatiascales 10 m within each site using wavelet analysis. Forest sites varied substantially in vertical canopy and root structure, with leaf area index and root mass more becoming even vertically as forests aged. In all sites, above- and belowground structure, characterized as mean maximum canopy height and root mass, exhibited significant coherence at a scale of 3.5–4 m, and results suggest that the scale of coherence may increase with stand age. Our findings demonstrate that canopy and root structure are linked at characteristic spatial scales, which provides the basis to optimize scales of observation. Our study highlights the potential, and limitations, for fusing LiDAR and radar technologies to quantitatively couple above- and belowground ecosystem structure.

  • Citation: Hardiman, Brady; Gough, Christopher; Butnor, John; Bohrer, Gil; Detto, Matteo; Curtis, Peter 2017. Coupling fine-scale root and canopy structure using ground-based remote sensing. Remote Sensing, Vol. 9(2): 182-194.  13 p. DOI:10.3390/rs9020182
  • Keywords: canopy; root; biomass; spatial wavelet coherence; radar; LiDAR
  • Posted Date: February 23, 2017
  • Modified Date: February 28, 2017
  • Requesting Print Publications

    Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

    Please make any requests at pubrequest@fs.fed.us.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.