Photosynthetic bark : use of chlorophyll absorption continuum index to estimate Boswellia papyrifera bark chlorophyll content

A. Girma Gebrekidan, A.K. Skidmore, C.A.J.M. de Bie, F. Bongers, M. Schlerf

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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Quantification of chlorophyll content provides useful insight into the physiological performance of plants. Several leaf chlorophyll estimation techniques, using hyperspectral instruments, are available. However, to our knowledge, a non-destructive bark chlorophyll estimation technique is not available. We set out to assess Boswellia papyrifera tree bark chlorophyll content and to provide an appropriate bark chlorophyll estimation technique using hyperspectral remote sensing techniques. In contrast to the leaves, the bark of B. papyrifera has several outer layers masking the inner photosynthetic bark layer. Thus, our interest includes understanding how much light energy is transmitted to the photosynthetic inner bark and to what extent the inner photosynthetic bark chlorophyll activity could be remotely sensed during both the wet and the dry season. In this study, chlorophyll estimation using the chlorophyll absorption continuum index (CACI) yielded a higher R2 (0.87) than others indices and methods, such as the use of single band, simple ratios, normalized differences, and conventional red edge position (REP) based estimation techniques. The chlorophyll absorption continuum index approach considers the increase or widening in area of the chlorophyll absorption region, attributed to high concentrations of chlorophyll causing spectral shifts in both the yellow and the red edge. During the wet season B. papyrifera trees contain more bark layers than during the dry season. Having less bark layers during the dry season (leaf off condition) is an advantage for the plants as then their inner photosynthetic bark is more exposed to light, enabling them to trap light energy. It is concluded that B. papyrifera bark chlorophyll content can be reliably estimated using the chlorophyll absorption continuum index analysis. Further research on the use of bark signatures is recommended, in order to discriminate the deciduous B. papyrifera from other species during the dry season
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation (JAG)
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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