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Virtual trees and light capture: a method for optimizing agroforestry stand design

Leroy C., Sabatier S.A., Wahyuni N.S., Barczi J.F., Dauzat J., Laurans M., Auclair D.. 2009. AgroForestry Systems, 77 (1) : p. 37-47.

DOI: 10.1007/s10457-009-9232-z

In agroforestry systems, the distribution of light transmitted under tree canopies can be a limiting factor for the development of intercrops. The light available for intercrops depends on the quantity of light intercepted by tree canopies and, consequently, on the architecture of the tree species present. The influence of tree architecture on light transmission was analysed using dynamic 3D architectural models. The architectural analysis of Acacia mangium and Tectona grandis was performed in Indonesian agroforestry systems with trees aged from 1 to 3 years. 3D virtual trees were then generated with the AmapSim simulation software and 3D virtual experiments in which tree age, planting density, planting pattern and pruning intensity varied were reconstructed in order to simulate light available for the crop. Canopy closure of trees was more rapid in A. mangium than in T. grandis agroforestry systems; after 3 years the quantity of light available for A. mangium intercrops was three times lower than under T. grandis. Simulations with A. mangium showed that practices such as pruning and widening tree spacing enable to increase the total transmitted light within the stand. On T. grandis, modification of the tree row azimuth resulted in changes in the spatial and seasonal distribution of light available for the intercrops. These results are discussed in terms of agroforestry system management.

Mots-clés : tectona grandis; acacia mangium; agroforesterie; java; sumatra

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