Three-dimensional quantification of tree architecture from mobile laser scanning and geometry analysis

Dorji, Yonten, Schuldt, Bernhard, Neudam, Liane, Dorji, Rinzin, Middleby, Kali, Isasa, Emilie, Körber, Klaus, Ammer, Christian, Annighöfer, Peter, and Seidel, Dominik (2021) Three-dimensional quantification of tree architecture from mobile laser scanning and geometry analysis. Trees, 35 (4). pp. 1385-1398.

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The structure and dynamics of a forest are defined by the architecture and growth patterns of its individual trees. In turn, tree architecture and growth result from the interplay between the genetic building plans and environmental factors. We set out to investigate whether (1) latitudinal adaptations of the crown shape occur due to characteristic solar elevation angles at a species’ origin, (2) architectural differences in trees are related to seed dispersal strategies, and (3) tree architecture relates to tree growth performance. We used mobile laser scanning (MLS) to scan 473 trees and generated three-dimensional data of each tree. Tree architectural complexity was then characterized by fractal analysis using the box-dimension approach along with a topological measure of the top heaviness of a tree. The tree species studied originated from various latitudinal ranges, but were grown in the same environmental settings in the arboretum. We found that trees originating from higher latitudes had significantly less top-heavy geometries than those from lower latitudes. Therefore, to a certain degree, the crown shape of tree species seems to be determined by their original habitat. We also found that tree species with wind-dispersed seeds had a higher structural complexity than those with animal-dispersed seeds (p < 0.001). Furthermore, tree architectural complexity was positively related to the growth performance of the trees (p < 0.001). We conclude that the use of 3D data from MLS in combination with geometrical analysis, including fractal analysis, is a promising tool to investigate tree architecture.

Item ID: 70250
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-2285
Keywords: Fractal analysis, Latitude, LiDAR, Seed dispersal strategy, Tree architecture, Tree growth
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 03:03
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