A methodological approach for the assessment of basic crown parameters in Scots pine stands
Among other measurement techniques applied for the assessment of leaf area index, direct methods are still valued as the most accurate measures and often implemented as calibration tools. Even though more attention has been given to indirect measurements of tree crown properties in forest ecosystems over the last decades, the present study was designed to discuss the direct (destructive) and indirect (non-destructive) methods used for the assessment of crown measures in the stands defoliated from 20 to 90%. The stands with similar stand characteristics and representing relatively wide range of defoliation served as an appropriate target for the assessment of foliage mass variations.
Overall, this study showed that the foliage mass or its surface area and defoliation at the stand level can be determined by the conventional methods used for the assessment of defoliation in forest monitoring programme as well as the PAR transmission methods. The findings showed that needle surface area decreased with the increase of tree defoliation; however, the changes of branch and stem surface areas were insignificant. Otherwise, the branch and shoot area contribute significantly to the total vegetation surface area at least in Scots pine stands. This study also strengthened the idea that the indirect measurement of vegetation area index underestimated vegetation area index at least in Scots pine stands defoliated less than 60%. The multivariate regression models were developed using tree diameter at breast height and tree crown defoliation ranges to estimate needle surface area. Keywords: Pinus sylvestris, crown defoliation, needle area index, regression model