In the era of global warming and endangered ecosystems, we need a better understanding of how forests and vegetation at large grow.
Vegetation is fundamentally affected by light, which is essential for photosynthesis and plant ‘breathing’. Light transmission through canopy affects forest productivity. Among other things, the transmission of light, or radiation, is controlled by leaf orientation. That is why it is important to measure the leaf angle distribution.
So far, it has been a headache to measure the leaf angle distribution, particularly for trees. Jan Pisek from Tartu Observatory and his colleagues from Harvard University and Université de Montréal have developed and tested a cost-efficient method that can be used virtually by anyone: all you need is a digital camera or a phone equipped with a camera and freely available image processing software.
Jan has created a Lego stop-motion animation to describe the measuring of leaves in an attractive and easy-to-follow way (turn on the subtitles):Continue reading