This technical note presents an instrumental method for the precise and timely installation of mechanical displacement sensors to investigate stem compression and relaxation associated with whole-tree rainwater loading and evaporation, respectively. We developed this procedure in response to the conclusions of Friesen et al. (2008), which called for the development of a precision mounting method for strain sensors on inherently-irregular trunk cross-sections so that rainfall interception, storage and evaporation may be distinguished from other strain-related phenomena. To supply precise sensor installation locations, high-resolution trunk profiles are generated using the LaserBarkTM automated tree measurement system. These scans are utilized to approximate the location of neutral bending axes. A routine then instructs a mobile rangefinder along the cross-section to optically indicate exact positioning for strain sensors over the bending axes. As imprecise sensor placement linearly increases error and diminishes signal-to-noise ratio, this automated installation routine is designed to remove significant distortions created by wind throw, off-centre loading within unevenly-distributed canopies, and human error that can lead to erroneous measurements of rainfall interception.
Supported by Penn State CZO International Student Travel Award, the TERENO initiative, the Starrett Foundation, and the University of Delaware's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships.
Van Stan, J.T., M.T. Jarvis, D.F. Levia, & J. Friesen (2011): Technical note: Instrumental method for reducing error in compression-derived measurements of rainfall interception for individual trees. Hydrological Sciences Journal 56: 1061-1066. DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2011.590811
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.