Long term and seasonal courses of leaf area index in a semi-arid forest plantation

Michael Sprintsin*, S. Cohen, K. Maseyk, E. Rotenberg, J. Grünzweig, A. Karnieli, P. Berliner, D. Yakir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Effective leaf area index (LAIe) in the semi-arid Pinus halepensis plantation, located between arid and semi-arid climatic zones at the edge of the Negev and Judean deserts, was measured bi-annually during four years (2001-2004) and more intensively (monthly) during the following two years (2004-2006) by a number of non-contact optical devices. The measurements showed a gradual increase in LAIe from ∼1 (±0.25) to ∼1.8 (±0.11) during these years. All instruments, when used properly, gave similar results that were also comparable with actual leaf area index measured by litter collection and destructive sampling and allometric estimates. Because of the constraint of clear sky conditions, which limited the use of the fisheye type sensors to times of twilight, the fisheye techniques were less useful. The tracing radiation and architecture of canopies system, which includes specific treatment of two levels of clumpiness of the sparse forest stand, was used successfully for the intensive monitoring. The mean clumpiness index, 0.61, is considered representative for the specific environment. Finally, the LAIe measurements at the start of each season were used to constrain phenology-based estimates of annual LAIe development, resulting in a continuous course of LAIe in the forest over the five-year period. Intra-seasonal LAIe variation in the order of 10% of total LAIe predicted by the model was also observed in the intensive TRAC measurements, giving confidence in the TRAC system and indicating its sensitivity and applicability in woodlands even with low LAIe values. The results can be important for forest management decision support as well as for use in evaluation of remote sensing techniques for forests at the lowest range of LAIe values.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 May 2011


  • Clumping index
  • Gap fraction
  • Non-contact measurements
  • TRAC


Dive into the research topics of 'Long term and seasonal courses of leaf area index in a semi-arid forest plantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this