Current issue: 56(4)
Despite the importance of spectral properties of woody tree structures, they are seldom represented in research related to forests, remote sensing, and reflectance modeling. This study presents a novel imaging multiangular measurement set-up that utilizes a mobile handheld hyperspectral camera (Specim IQ, 400–1000 nm), and can measure stem bark spectra in a controlled laboratory setting. We measured multiangular reflectance spectra of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stem bark, and demonstrated the potential of using bark spectra in identifying tree species using a Support Vector Machine (SVM) based approach. Intraspecific reflectance variability was the lowest in visible (400–700 nm), and the highest in near-infrared (700–1000 nm) wavelength regions. Interspecific variation was the largest in the red, red-edge and near-infrared spectral bands. Spatial variation of reflectance along the tree height and different sides of the stem (north and south) were found. Both birch and pine had increased reflectance in the forward-scattering directions for visible to near-infrared wavelength regions, whilst spruce displayed the same only for the visible wavelength region. In addition, spruce had increased reflectance in the backward-scattering directions. In spite of the intraspecific variations, SVM could identify tree species with 88.8% overall accuracy when using pixel-specific spectra, and with 97.2% overall accuracy when using mean spectra per image. Based on our results it is possible to identify common boreal tree species based on their stem bark spectra using images from mobile hyperspectral cameras.
Leaf reflectance and transmittance spectra are essential information in many applications such as developing remote sensing methods, computing shortwave energy balance (albedo) of forest canopies, and monitoring health or stress of trees. Measurement of coniferous needle spectra has usually been carried out with single integrating spheres, which has involved a lot of tedious manual work. A small double integrating sphere would make the measurements considerably faster, because of its ease of operation and small sample sizes required. Here we applied a compact double integrating sphere setup, used previously for measurement of broad leaves, for measurement of coniferous needles. Test measurements with the double integrating sphere showed relative underestimation of needle albedo by 5–39% compared to a well-established single integrating sphere setup. A small part of the bias can be explained by the bias of the single sphere. Yet the observed bias is quite significant if absolute accuracy of measurements is required. For relative measurements, e.g. for monitoring development of needle spectra over time, the double sphere system provides notable improvement. Furthermore, it might be possible to reduce the bias by building an optimized measurement setup that minimizes absorption losses in the sample port. Our study indicates that double spheres, after some technical improvement, may provide a new and fast way to collect extensive spectral libraries of tree species.
Foliage spectra form an important input to physically-based forest reflectance models. However, little is known about geographical variability of coniferous needle spectra. In this research note, we present an assessment of the geographical variability of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) needle albedo, reflectance, and transmittance spectra across three study sites covering latitudes of 49–62°N in Europe. All spectra were measured and processed using exactly the same methodology and parameters, which guarantees reliable conclusions about geographical variability. Small geographical variability in Norway spruce needle spectra was observed, when compared to variability observed between previous measurement campaigns (employing slightly varying measurement and processing parameters), or to variability between plant functional types (broadleaved vs. coniferous). Our results suggest that variability of needle spectra is not a major factor introducing geographical variability to forest reflectance. The results also highlight the importance of harmonizing measurement protocols when collecting needle spectral libraries. Furthermore, the data collected for this study can be useful in studies where accurate information on spectral differences between broadleaved and coniferous tree foliage is needed.