Structural factors driving boreal forest albedo in Finland

Nea Kuusinen*, Pauline Stenberg, Lauri Korhonen, Miina Rautiainen, Erkki Tomppo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the influence of forest structure on forest albedo, and thus on the energy exchange between the forest and the atmosphere, is urgently needed in areas with large forest cover and active forest management. Fine resolution albedo retrievals enable quantifying the relationships between forest variables and albedo also in patchy landscapes, such as in the managed forests in Fennoscandia. In this study, field plot data, airborne laser scanning (ALS) data and high resolution satellite albedo retrievals from Landsat were used to investigate the main factors influencing forest albedo in Central Finland in midsummer. Tree species, forest structure and understory (ground) vegetation composition all influenced forest albedo. The tree species-specific models were estimated on a subpixel scale by utilizing information on the proportions of each species within a plot. Tree species considerably improved the albedo prediction when added to a model containing only a structural variable, whereas a further addition of the site fertility class as a proxy of understory vegetation composition only slightly improved the model. Albedo decreased with increasing volume of growing stock, but the decrease leveled off at high volumes. The albedo of plots with high volume was instead mainly governed by tree species and was the lowest for Norway spruce, intermediate for Scots pine and highest for broadleaved species. Norway spruce albedo decreased almost linearly with increasing mean tree height. ALS-derived canopy cover explained fairly well the variation in albedo in the visible region, but the total shortwave albedo was better predicted by ALS-derived tree height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Airborne laser scanning
  • Albedo
  • Boreal
  • Canopy cover
  • Landsat
  • Understory vegetation


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