The Leaf Area Index (LAI) of a plant canopy or ecosystem, defined as one half of the total green leaf area per unit horizontal ground surface area, measures the area of leaf material present in the specified environment. On sloping surfaces, the leaf area should be projected to the underlying ground along the normal to the slope. This dimensionless variable varies between 0 and values of about 10 or so, depending on local conditions. It partly controls important mass and energy exchange processes, such as radiation and rain interception, as well as photosynthesis and respiration, which couple vegetation to the climate system. Hence, LAI appears as a key variable in many models describing vegetation–atmosphere interactions, particularly with respect to the carbon and water cycles.
Maps of LAI for modelling; Maps of LAI for adaptation
Leaf Area Index after Fire
Figure: Time series of LAI (from Copernicus Global Land Service), spatially averaged over 6 x 6 km2, around the Pearsoll Peak, Oregon, United States (42°18’N; 123°51’W). In June 2002, a big fire event occurred. The error bars correspond to the spatial standard deviation around the central pixel. Landsat 7 images from https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/.