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2017 | 78 |

Tytuł artykułu

Tree architecture description using a single-image photogrammetric method


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Tree architecture is thought to allow species to share available resources both above and below ground. The description of plant architecture is useful to model plant structure and function, as well as interactions with other species or generally with the environment. The aim of this study was to present a conceptual implementation of a simple photogrammetric method for the above-ground tree architecture description of leafless individuals growing under different conditions. The implemented method was single- image photogrammetry. The novel aspect is the heuristic assumption that tree’s image is a projection onto a plane that cross-sections the stem base; which enables assessment of a set of the canopy attributes, with only one image involved. The method was tested in two ways: (1) in the field: in terms of its applicability to real trees, we used 31 plots with different terrain slope and tree density, in natural forest, in every case the target tree was European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) which is known as a very plastic tree species, and (2) with virtual tree-like 3D models, created with L-system rules, to determine the accuracy of the method. Some of the traits measured or estimated with respect to the projection plane α are: the length of the trunk and branches (L), inclination of the tree main axis from the vertical (IA), crown width (CW), two opposite crown radius (CR), crown length (CL); and the external factors, like the terrain slope inclination (S) and number of trees competing for light (N). The advantages (e.g., low time consumption and low cost), difficulties (e.g., occlusion of tree tops) and accuracy in idealised conditions were described. The tree traits that can be measured using the proposed method are essential for estimating many ecological parameters. Our method allows reducing fieldwork time to a minimum and taking measurements of large numbers of plots daily when the environmental conditions are similar, even when they are taken by only one person. This method is very useful for conducting studies on a temporal scale (e.g., to record changes in the branching structure). Future research is needed to validate the method in different environments.

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