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Estimating the fractal dimension of plants using the two-surface method: An analysis based on 3D-digitized tree foliage

Boudon F., Godin C., Pradal C., Puech O., Sinoquet H.. 2006. Fractals, 14 (3) : p. 149-163.

DOI: 10.1142/S0218348X06003179

In this paper, we present a method to estimate the fractal dimension of plant foliage in three dimensions (3D). This method is derived from the two-surface method introduced in the 90s to estimate the fractal dimension of tree species from field measurements on collections of trees. Here we adapted the method to individual plants. The multiscale topology and geometry of the plant must first be digitized in 3D. Then leafy branching systems of different sizes are constructed from the plant database, using the topological information. 3D convex envelops are then computed for each leafy branching system. The fractal dimension of the plant is finally estimated by comparing the total leaf area and the convex envelop area of these leafy modules. The method was assessed on a set of four peach trees entirely digitized at shoot scale. Results show that the peach trees have a marked self-similar foliage with fractal dimension close to 2.4.

Mots-clés : port de la plante; feuillage; dimension; mesure; modèle mathématique; prunus persica; arbre; architecture des arbres

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