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Stand biometry and leaf area distribution in an old olive grove at Andria, southern Italy

Jan Čermák, Jan Gašpárek, Francesca De Lorenzi, Hamlyn G. Jones
Annals of forest science 2007 v.64 no.5 pp. 491-501
Olea europaea, allometry, biometry, canopy, image analysis, leaf area index, leaves, models, olives, photographs, stems, stocking rate, trees, Italy
The objectives of this paper were (1) to provide general biometry data for an 80-year-old olive (Olea europea L., cv. Coratina) grove in Andria, southern Italy, and (2) to compare different methods for estimating leaf area distributions. Stand biometry was represented by a stocking density of 132 trees ha⁻¹, mean spacing of 8.7 m and mean social area (proportional to spacing and tree size) of about 76 m² per tree. Trunk total circumference averaged 110 cm and after subtraction of missing or dead parts of stems averaged 81 cm, projected area of crowns averaged 17.7 m² and the mean tree height was 4.9 m. Leaf distribution was evaluated using calibrated ground-based side photographs through image analysis and through using a simple canopy-layer model (considering hollow volume within tree crowns) and double-Gaussian curves. The mean leaf size was about 5 cm² (distributed in a log-normal manner over the range of 2 to 12 cm²). Considering whole tree crowns, the mean leaf density was about 2.6 m²m⁻³; the maximum leaf area occurred in canopy layers between 1.5 to 3 m, tailing with a steeper slope to the crown base and a less steep slope to the tree-top. The foliated volume of olive crowns (mean 33.2 m³) contained on average 145 thousand leaves of the total area of 72.6 m². The corresponding leaf area index on the stand level (LAI gᵣₒᵥₑ = 0.96), was rather low due to low stocking density. However when taking into account only the projected crown areas (and avoiding free space between trees), the mean LAI reached about 3.5 (range from 1–7). The radial pattern of leaf distribution derived from image analysis indicated peak LAI ᵣₐd values at a distance from the stem of about 60 to 70% of crown radius in trees of different size. The applicability of different approaches to the estimation of the necessary allometric parameters is discussed.