Assessing foliar chlorophyll contents with the SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter: a calibration test with thirteen tree species of tropical rainforest in French Guiana


Chlorophyll meters such as the SPAD-502 offer a simple, inexpensive and rapid method to estimate foliar chlorophyll content. However, values provided by SPAD-502 are unitless and require empirical calibrations between SPAD units and extracted chlorophyll values. Leaves of 13 tree species from the tropical rain forest in French Guiana were sampled to select the most appropriate calibration model among the often-used linear, polynomial and exponential models, in addition to a novel homographic model that has a natural asymptote. The homographic model best accurately predicted total chlorophyll content (mu g cm(-2)) from SPAD units (R-2 = 0.89). Interspecific differences in the homographic model parameters explain less than 7% of the variation in chlorophyll content in our data set. The utility of the general homographic model for a variety of research and management applications clearly outweighs the slight loss of model accuracy due to the abandon of the species’ effect.

Annals of Forest Science