An important metric of canopy structure, bark microrelief affects both the hydrology and biogeochemistry of forests. Increased bark microrelief leads to reduced stemflow volumes and higher concentrations of stemflow leachates and nutrient-ions. Consequently, an improved representation of bark microrelief would be useful to describe the influence of various tree species on water and solute contributions to the forest floor. Most existing methods to quantify bark microrelief are ‘global’ measures; that is, they provide a single number that represents the overall bark microrelief of the entire perimeter of the tree. To remedy this, wavelet analysis of LaserBark™ automated tree measurement system data is proposed and described to quantify variations in bark microrelief around the perimeter of the tree. This measure describes the spatial differences in bark microrelief and allows representation of trees that exhibit directional variability in bark microrelief due to natural or anthropogenic effects. The results show that wavelet analysis is effective in quantifying both bark microrelief and large-scale tree asymmetry. The radial component highlights changes in the depth of bark microrelief while the tangential component relates to the distance between bark furrows in the bark cross section. Thus, wavelet analysis may be a useful tool for comparing bark structure that varies, for example, within- and between-tree species, at different stages of tree growth, and among trees grown under different environmental conditions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_vanstan/47/