Three-dimensional quantification of tree architecture from mobile laser scanning and geometry analysis

2021-04-12 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Three-dimensional quantification of tree architecture from mobile laser scanning and geometry analysis​
Dorji, Y.; Schuldt, B.; Neudam, L.; Dorji, R.; Middleby, K.; Isasa, E. & Körber, K. et al.​ (2021) 
Trees35(4) pp. 1385​-1398​.​ DOI: 

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Dorji, Yonten; Schuldt, Bernhard; Neudam, Liane; Dorji, Rinzin; Middleby, Kali; Isasa, Emilie; Körber, Klaus; Ammer, Christian; Annighöfer, Peter; Seidel, Dominik
Abstract Key message Mobile laser scanning and geometrical analysis revealed relationships between tree geometry and seed dispersal mechanism, latitude of origin, as well as growth. Abstract The structure and dynamics of a forest are defined by the architecture and growth patterns of its individual trees. In turn, tree architecture and growth result from the interplay between the genetic building plans and environmental factors. We set out to investigate whether (1) latitudinal adaptations of the crown shape occur due to characteristic solar elevation angles at a species’ origin, (2) architectural differences in trees are related to seed dispersal strategies, and (3) tree architecture relates to tree growth performance. We used mobile laser scanning (MLS) to scan 473 trees and generated three-dimensional data of each tree. Tree architectural complexity was then characterized by fractal analysis using the box-dimension approach along with a topological measure of the top heaviness of a tree. The tree species studied originated from various latitudinal ranges, but were grown in the same environmental settings in the arboretum. We found that trees originating from higher latitudes had significantly less top-heavy geometries than those from lower latitudes. Therefore, to a certain degree, the crown shape of tree species seems to be determined by their original habitat. We also found that tree species with wind-dispersed seeds had a higher structural complexity than those with animal-dispersed seeds (p < 0.001). Furthermore, tree architectural complexity was positively related to the growth performance of the trees (p < 0.001). We conclude that the use of 3D data from MLS in combination with geometrical analysis, including fractal analysis, is a promising tool to investigate tree architecture.
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Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Räumliche Strukturen und Digitalisierung von Wäldern ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der gemäßigten Zonen 
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (1018)



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