Canadian Forest Service Publications

Hemispherical photography in forest science: conclusions, applications, limitations, and implementation perspectives. 2017. Fournier, R.A.; Hall, R.J. Pages 287-302 (Chapter 10) in R.A. Fournier and R.J. Hall, editors. Hemispherical photography for forestry: theory, methods, applications. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

Year: 2017

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38833

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Mark record


The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the key messages from each chapter of the book and the rationale for using hemispherical photography (HP) in the discipline of forest ecology. The chapters describing the theory and methods presented the state of the science and the opportunities for developing applications to forestry and natural resources, as well as helping to identify limitations that require further investigation. This chapter also provides a literature review that expands the topic of applications beyond those already covered in Chaps. 8 and 9. Forest ecology, like many other fields, has a rich pool of published studies that illustrate the applications of HP technology. By understanding the relevant theory and methods for acquiring and analyzing hemispherical photographs, the book provides a fundamental basis for new users to understand the published material, from which to plan and undertake their own studies.

Plain Language Summary

Hemispherical photography (HP) is a technique to photograph plant and tree canopies with an extremely wide-angle (fisheye) lens. Photos are taken looking upward from the forest floor and capture the amount of light under the canopy and other characteristics of the canopy. HP is of considerable interest to forest and ecological research because it can show the penetration of the sun's energy into the forest canopy and its effects on vegetation composition and structure. This chapter introduces a multi-author book on the use of HP in forest science and reviews the history of HP. It also explains HP’s dual role in measuring the sun's energy (solar radiation) and its fundamental role in plant growth, and also in measuring aspects of canopy structure such as leaf area. The introduction also summarizes each book chapter, illustrating how HP can be used as a tool to improve ecological knowledge.