Links between light availability and spectral properties of forest floor in European forests

Petri R. Forsström, Aarne Hovi, Jussi Juola, Miina Rautiainen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Remote sensing using spectral data has been commonly applied to retrieve tree layer properties while the monitoring of forest floor remains a less studied topic. We investigated the links between light availability at forest floor, and forest floor's spectral reflectance properties (350–2500 nm) and fractional cover across boreal and temperate Europe. We hypothesized that tree canopy structure (and thus, light availability at forest floor) is linked not only to the vegetation composition of forest floor, as has been shown previously, but also to forest floor's spectral reflectance properties, and that these relationships differ between forest biomes. Data were collected in situ from a total of 67 forest stands in southern boreal, hemiboreal, temperate floodplain, and temperate mountain sites. The variation of light availability at forest floor was linked to both the forest floor's composition and spectral reflectance properties. Each study site exhibited site-specific spectral features and a different mean reflectance spectrum. Openness in tree canopies was related to an increase in the fractional cover of vascular plants and to a decrease of plant litter, consequently enhancing the forest floors’ spectral absorptance features in the red and shortwave-infrared wavelengths, as well as reflectance in the near-infrared region. Also, the variations of normalized difference index values and red edge positions as functions light availability at forest floor and forest floor's composition were different for each site. Our results suggest that incorporating biome-specific relationships between tree canopy structure and forest floor reflectance properties would improve interpretation of optical remote sensing data. The measurement data are openly available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109481
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Volume336
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Boreal
  • Hyperspectral
  • Remote sensing
  • Temperate
  • Understory reflectance

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