China Builds Automatic Leaf Area Index Monitoring Network


BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have realized continuous national-scale ground observation of the leaf area index by building an automatic monitoring network, according to the Aerospace Information Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Wednesday.

The leaf area index is a dimensionless quantity that describes the total area of a single leaf side per unit of ground surface area. The index is a crucial indicator reflecting the conditions for plant growth, controlling the vegetation's photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, carbon cycle and rainfall interception. It is also closely related to the plant output, and is an important parameter for global ecological research.

The researchers built the ground leaf area index monitoring network with 15 sets of a wireless sensor system distributed across different ecosystems, including farmland, forest and grassland.

By July 2020, a total of 12 million valid data points have been collected by this new monitoring network. And the data has higher temporal-spatial resolution than other remote sensing measures, said the researchers with the institute.