The effect of crown shape on the reflectance of coniferous stands

Miina Rautiainen*, Pauline Stenberg, Tiit Nilson, Andres Kuusk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The Kuusk-Nilson forest reflectance model was used to study the effect of crown shape on the reflectance of Scots pine and Norway spruce stands. In the first part of the study, we examined spruce and pine stands with an age range of 20-100 years and compared their simulated hemispherical-directional reflectance factors (HDRFs) at nadir in red (661 nm), NIR (838 nm) and MIR (1677 nm) when crowns were modeled as ellipsoids or cones. In all the cases, when a stand was modeled with conical crowns, it had a smaller reflectance factor than the same stand with ellipsoidal crowns. To analyze the sensitivity of HDRF on crown shape, in the second part of the study we simulated the angular distributions of HDRF of two pine stands with different leaf area index (LAI) and canopy closure values at 661 nm assuming four different crown shapes (cone, cylinder, ellipsoid, and cylinder bottom, cone top) and separated the components forming the HDRF. Considerable difference in the HDRF between the four crown shapes was observed: The larger the crown volume, the higher the canopy reflectance at similar LAI and canopy closure. A comparison of the two stands revealed that in denser stands (with a higher canopy closure) single scattering from tree crowns was responsible for the difference in HDRF between the different crown shapes, whereas in stands with a smaller canopy closure the single scattering from ground dominated the HDRF. Finally, the role of crown shape for the retrieval of LAI by inversion from remotely sensed data is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Leaf area index
  • Norway spruce
  • Reflectance model
  • Scots pine


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