LIGHT DIFFUSION IN THE TROPICAL DRY FOREST OF COSTA RICA
- Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E3, Canada
Keywords: Leaf area index, spectral vegetation indices, MODIS
Abstract. Leaf Area Index (LAI) has been defined as the total leaf area (one-sided) in relation to the ground. LAI has an impact on tree growth and recruitment through the interception of light, which in turn affects primary productivity. Even though many instruments exist for estimating LAI from ground, they are often laborious and costly to run continuously. Measurements of LAI from the field using traditional sensors (e.g., LAI-2000) require multiple visits to the field under very specific sky conditions, making them unsuitable to operate in inaccessible areas and forests with dense vegetation, as well as areas where persistent sunny conditions are the norm like tropical dry forests. With this context, we proposed a methodology to characterize light diffusion based on NDVI and LAI measurements taken from the field in two successional stages in the tropical dry forest of Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. We estimate a "K" coefficient to characterize light diffusion by the canopy, based on field NDVI measurements derived from optical phenology instruments and MODIS NDVI. From the coefficients determined, we estimated LAI values and compared them with ground measurements of LAI. In both successional stages ground measurements of LAI had no significant difference to the tower-derived LAI and the estimated LAI from MODIS NDVI.