Published in Polar Bioscience, Volume 13, January 1, 2000, pages 133-146. Copyright © 2000 NIPR Japan. This article is also available online at http://polaris.nipr.ac.jp/~penguin/polarbiosci/issues/PB13.html.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Gary Hughes was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The warming resulting from increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses is expected to be most prominent in the subarctic-boreal region of the Northern Hemisphere. With the objective of setting up a baseline to monitor possible vegetation change in this region, a continuous vegetation profile extending 600 km from Edmonton, Alberta to Cluff Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada was measured using an airborne infrared laser altimeter mounted on a helicopter. Then the distribution of leaf area index over the same 600 km long transect was estimated from this vegetation profile based on a series of plot surveys on the ground to correlate the vegetation profile with leaf area index via standing stock. The distribution of leaf area index not only corresponded well with biome type, but also showed characteristic change in accordance with environmental gradient within a given biome, thus confirming that airborne laser altimetry is a powerful tool for measuring and monitoring such important vegetation characteristics as standing volume, leaf area index, etc. over an extensive area.
Statistics and Probability