Estimates of Tree Canopy Closure and Basal Area as Proxies for Tree Crown Volume at a Stand Scale


Research Highlights: Studies on tree canopy dwelling species often require simple proxies of tree canopy volume estimated at a stand level. These include allometrically related tree crown parameters such as crown area and basal area, and canopy cover. Background and Objectives: In monoculture Scot’s pine and mixed pine/Norway spruce forest, we aimed to test the relationships between tree diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree crown volume at a tree level and between densitometer canopy closure estimates and tree crown volume at a stand level. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in eastern Latvia (hemiboreal zone) in monoculture pine and mixed coniferous stands. On a subset of trees in 22 forest stands (88 100 m2 plots), we determined the best regression model that described the relationship between tree DBH and crown volume for spruce and pine. Tree crown volume at a stand level was determined from the individual tree volume estimates calculated from these regression models. On a stand level, we also calculated regression models for densitometer closure estimates versus total crown volume for pine and mixed stands. Results: Linear mixed effects models showed significant relationships between DBH and crown volume for pine (R2 = 0.63) and spruce (R2 = 0.40), indicating that basal area could be used as a predictor of crown volume at a stand level. Variance explained by a regression model of canopy closure versus tree crown volume at a stand level was R2 = 0.52. Conclusions: Tree basal area and crown closure can be used as proxies of tree crown volume at a stand scale in monoculture stands. In mixed stands estimates of crown volume based on basal area need to be calculated separately for each tree species, while canopy closure will provide an estimate of total crown volume.