Huang, D, Knyazikhin, Y, Wang, W, Deering, DW, Stenberg, P, Shabanov, N, Tan, B, Myneni, RB (2008). Stochastic transport theory for investigating the three-dimensional canopy structure from space measurements. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 112(1), 35-50.
Radiation reflected from vegetation canopies exhibits high spatial variation. Satellite-bome sensors measure the mean intensities emanating from heterogeneous vegetated pixels. The theory of radiative transfer in stochastic media provides the most logical linkage between satellite observations and the three-dimensional canopy structure through a closed system of simple equations which contains the mean intensity and higher statistical moments directly as its unknowns. Although this theory has been a highly active research field in recent years, its potential for satellite remote sensing of vegetated surfaces has not been fully realized because of the lack of models of a canopy pair-correlation function that the stochastic radiative transfer equations require. The pair correlation function is defined as the probability of finding simultaneously phytoelements at two points. This paper presents analytical and Monte Carlo generated pair correlation functions. Theoretical and numerical analyses show that the spatial correlation between phytoelements is primarily responsible for the effects of the three-dimensional canopy structure on canopy reflective and absorptive properties. The pair correlation function, therefore, is the most natural and physically meaningful measure of the canopy structure over a wide range of scales. The stochastic radiative transfer equations naturally admit this measure and thus provide a powerful means to investigate the three-dimensional canopy structure from space. Canopy reflectances predicted by the stochastic equations are assessed by comparisons with the PARABOLA measurements from coniferous and broadleaf forest stands in the BOREAS Southern Study Areas. The pair correlation functions are derived from data on tree structural parameters collected during field campaigns conducted at these sites. The simulated canopy reflectances compare well with the PARABOLA data. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.