Structural Simulation of Tree Growth

The Visual Computer 19(2-3), May 2003, pp. 151-163

Each tree is unique because of the physical environment it experiences over the course of its life. Environmental factors shape a tree within the bounds of its genotype. Only by modeling the environmental influences can we create realistic models of trees. To this end, we constructed a structural simulation that calculates the mass of each branch of the tree to emulate the mechanisms the tree uses to balance its weight, and that estimates the photosynthesis return of the leaves to simulate phototropism. Our effort is motivated by a desire to construct a predictive tool that can be used by both those in computer graphics and forest management, with applications in image synthesis, dendrochronology, mensuration and the simulation of forest succession.

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