Geometric-Optical Modeling of a Conifer Forest Canopy
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
A geometric-optical forest canopy model that treats conifers as cones casting shadows on a contrasting background can explain the major portion of the variance in a remotely sensed image of a forest stand. The model is driven by interpixel variance generated from three sources: 1) the number of crowns in the pixel; 2) the size of individual crowns; and 3) overlapping of crowns and shadows. The model uses parallel-ray geometry to describe the illumination of a three-dimensional cone and the
... w it casts. Cones are assumed to be randomly placed and may overlap freely. Cone size (height) is distributed lognormally, and cone form, described by the apex angle of the cone, is-fixed in the model but allowed to vary in its application. The model can also be inverted to provide estimates of the size, shape, and spacing of the conifers as cones using remote imagery and a minimum of ground measurements. Field tests using both 10-and 80-m multispectral imagery of two test conifer stands in northeastern California produced reasonable estimates for these parameters. The model appears to be sufficiently general and robust for application to other geometric shapes and mixtures of simple shapes. Thus it has wide potential use not only in remote sensing of vegetation, but also in other remote sensing situations in which discrete objects are imaged at resolutions sufficiently coarje that they canot be resolved individually.