Quantification and Variation of Microclimatic Variables Within Tree Canopies - Considerations for Epiphyte Research

MARIANA MURAKAMI, Flavio Ramos, Maxime Durand, Robert Ashton, SVEN BATKE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Forest canopies are incredibly complex self-maintaining biological structures. Conditions above and within the canopy can differ vastly, often resulting in a vertical gradient of microclimate conditions. Canopy epiphytic plants have to deal with climatic variability on much more variable scales compared to many other plant groups. The difficulty of sensor installation and their high cost can explain why it has been ignored in many studies on canopy epiphytes. Direct measurements of microenvironmental conditions are the only accurate way to assess specific intra-canopy environmental conditions, as there is also still a lack of methodologically and financially viable alternatives to allow the collection of this type of data. This study aims to make recommendations for the direct use of microclimate measurements in epiphyte research and to summarize key discussion points concerning the number and placement of sensors required for different types of epiphyte studies. In addition, we presented high-resolution field data from the United Kingdom, where we employed over 56 microclimate sensors, to demonstrate the spatial and temporal variability of radiation, temperature, and relative humidity (RH) in a tree canopy. Our data demonstrated that sensor height in the tree and leaf-set were the most important factors determining microclimate variability in the canopy. For the first time, we have made recommendations regarding the placement and number of sensors required in studies that specifically require the use of microclimate sensors in epiphyte studies in forest canopies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Forests and Global Change
Issue number828725
Early online date31 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022


  • light
  • temperature
  • relative humidity
  • forestry
  • sensors
  • cimate
  • microclimate
  • canopy

Research Groups

  • SustainNET


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