Leaf Area Index
Leaf area index is the total area of all leaves of plants relative to the ground surface, within a give area. It is slightly different than a simple measure of canopy cover because it accounts for all layers of vegetation rather than only the top most layer. Leaf area index is expressed as a percentage, which can exceed 100% in abundant vegetation. Leaf area is an indicator of biomass at a site.
References and Further Reading
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Ansley, R.J., Price, D.L., Lawrence, B.K., and P.W. Jacoby. 1988. A truck-mounted mobile screen for photodigital estimation of whole plant leaf area. Journal of Range Management 41:355-358. (pdf)
Barbour, M.G., Burk, J.H., and W.D. Pitts. 1987. Terrestrial plant ecology. Benjamin Cummins Publishing Co, Menlo Park, CA. 2nd ed. p 161.
Daubenmire, R. 1968. Plant communities: A textbook on plant synecology. Harper Row, New York, NY. p 42.
Svejcar, T. 1990. Root length, leaf area, and biomass of crested wheatgrass and cheatgrass seedlings. Journal of Range Management 43:446-448. (pdf)