iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


A simplified methodology for the correction of Leaf Area Index (LAI) measurements obtained by ceptometer with reference to Pinus Portuguese forests

Domingos Lopes (1)   , Leónia Nunes (2), Nigel Walford (3), José Aranha (1), Carlos Jr Sette (4), Helder Viana (2), Carmen Hernandez (5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 3, Pages 186-192 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0096-007
Published: Feb 17, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Technical Advances

Forest leaf area index (LAI) is an important structural parameter controlling many biological and physiological processes associated with vegetation. A wide array of methods for its estimation has been proposed, including those based on the sunfleck ceptometer, a ground-based easy-to-use device taking non-destructive LAI measures. However, use of ceptometer in pine stands leads to the underestimation of LAI due to foliage clumping of this species. Previous studies have proposed a correction of biased LAI estimates based on the multiplication by a constant factor. In this study, a new method for obtaining a correction factor is proposed by considering the bias (the difference between the ceptometer measure and the reference LAI) as a function of the stand structural variables, namely the basal area. LAI data were collected from 102 sampling plots (age range: 14-74) established in Pinus pinaster forests all across nor­thern Portugal. Data from 82 sampling plots were used for the adjustment of the LAI ceptometer correction model, while the remaining 20 plots were used for the model validation. The observed LAI ranged from 0.34 to 6.4 as expected from the large heterogeneity of the sampled pine stands. Significant diffe­rences were detected between LAI values estimated by ceptometers and LAI reference values. Different correction methods have been compared for their accuracy in predicting LAI reference values. Based on the results of the stati­stical analysis carried out, the new proposed LAI correction outperformed all the other methods proposed so far. The new approach for bias reduction proposed here has the advantage of being easily applied since the basal area is almost always available from forest inventory or can be inferred from remote sensing surveys. However, the bias correction model obtained is site-specific, being dependent on stand species composition, soil fertility, site aspect, etc. and should therefore be applied only in the study area. Nonetheless, the development of a correction methodology based on an allometric approach has proved to greatly improve LAI ceptometer estimations.


Leaf Area Index, Ceptometer, Correction, Pinus pinaster

Authors’ address

Domingos Lopes
José Aranha
Departamento de Ciências Florestais e Arquitetura Paisagista, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5000-801 Vila Real (Portugal)
Leónia Nunes
Helder Viana
Escola Superior Agrária de Viseu, Quinta da Alagoa - Estrada de Nelas, Ranhados, 3500-606 Viseu (Portugal)
Nigel Walford
School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, KT1 2EE Kingston upon Thames (UK)
Carlos Jr Sette
Agronomy School, UFG, Campus Samambaia - Rodovia Goi’nia / Nova Veneza Km 0 - Caixa Postal 131, CEP 74690-900, Goi’nia, GO (Brazil)
Carmen Hernandez
Facultad de Informatica UPV/EHU, Paseo de Manuel Lardizabal 1, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain)
CITAB - Centro de Investigação e de Tecnologias Agro-Ambientais e Biológicas, UTAD, Apartado 1013, 5000-801 Vila Real (Portugal)

Corresponding author

Domingos Lopes


Lopes D, Nunes L, Walford N, Aranha J, Sette CJ, Viana H, Hernandez C (2014). A simplified methodology for the correction of Leaf Area Index (LAI) measurements obtained by ceptometer with reference to Pinus Portuguese forests. iForest 7: 186-192. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0096-007

Academic Editor

Roberto Tognetti

Paper history

Received: May 17, 2011
Accepted: Oct 08, 2013

First online: Feb 17, 2014
Publication Date: Jun 02, 2014
Publication Time: 4.40 months

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