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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

CanopyShotNoise - An individual-based tree canopy modelling framework for projecting remote-sensing data and ecological sensitivity analysis

Pommerening, Arne; Gaulton, Rachel; Magdon, Paul; Myllymaki, Mari;


Very few spatially explicit tree models have so far been constructed with a view to project remote-sensing data directly. To fill this gap, we introduced the prototype of the CanopyShotNoise model, an individual-based model specifically designed for projecting airborne laser scanning (ALS) data. Given the nature of ALS data, the model focuses on the dynamics of individual-tree canopies in forest ecosystems, that is, spatial tree interaction and resulting growth, birth and death processes. In this study, CanopyShotNoise was used to analyse the long-term effects of the processes crown plasticity (C) and superorganism formation (S) on spatial tree canopy patterns that are likely to play an important role in ongoing climate change. We designed a replicated computer experiment involving the four scenarios C0S0, C1S0, C0S1 and C1S1 where 0 and 1 imply that the preceding process was switched off and on, respectively. We hypothesized that C and S are antagonistic processes, specifically that C would lead to increasing regularity of tree locations and S would result in clustering. Our simulation results confirmed that in the long run intertree distances decreased and canopy gap size increased when superorganisms were encouraged to form. At the same time, the overlap and packing of tree crowns increased. The long-term effect of crown plasticity increased the regularity of tree locations; however, this effect was much weaker than that of superorganism formation. As a result, gap patterns remained more or less unaffected by crown plasticity. In scenario C1S1, both processes interestingly interacted in such a way that crown plasticity even increased the effect of superorganism formation. Our simulation results are likely to prove helpful in recognizing patterns of facilitation with ongoing climate change.

Published in

International Journal of Remote Sensing

2021, volume: 42, number: 18, pages: 6837-6865

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Gaulton, Rachel
Newcastle University - UK
Magdon, Paul
University of Gottingen
Myllymaki, Mari
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

UKÄ Subject classification

Remote Sensing

Publication Identifiers


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