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Leaf-on canopy closure in broadleaf deciduous forests predicted during winter

June 4, 2015

Forest canopy influences light transmittance, which in turn affects tree regeneration and survival, thereby having an impact on forest composition and habitat conditions for wildlife. Because leaf area is the primary impediment to light penetration, quantitative estimates of canopy closure are normally made during summer. Studies of forest structure and wildlife habitat that occur during winter, when deciduous trees have shed their leaves, may inaccurately estimate canopy closure. We estimated percent canopy closure during both summer (leaf-on) and winter (leaf-off) in broadleaf deciduous forests in Mississippi and Louisiana using gap light analysis of hemispherical photographs that were obtained during repeat visits to the same locations within bottomland and mesic upland hardwood forests and hardwood plantation forests. We used mixed-model linear regression to predict leaf-on canopy closure from measurements of leaf-off canopy closure, basal area, stem density, and tree height. Competing predictive models all included leaf-off canopy closure (relative importance = 0.93), whereas basal area and stem density, more traditional predictors of canopy closure, had relative model importance of ≤ 0.51.

Publication Year 2015
Title Leaf-on canopy closure in broadleaf deciduous forests predicted during winter
DOI 10.5849/forsci.14-196
Authors Daniel J. Twedt, Andrea J. Ayala, Madeline R. Shickel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Forest Science
Index ID 70159194
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center