Despite an emerging body of literature linking canopy albedo to forest management, understanding of the process is still fragmented. We combined a stand-level forest gap model with a canopy radiation transfer model and satellite-derived model parameters to quantify the effects of forest thinning, that is removing trees at a certain time during the forest rotation, on summertime canopy albedo. The effects of different forest species (pine, beech, oak) and four thinning strategies (light to intense thinning regimes) were examined. During stand establishment, summertime canopy albedo is driven by tree species. In the later stages of stand development, the effect of tree species on summertime canopy albedo decreases in favour of an increasing influence of forest thinning on summertime canopy albedo. These trends continue until the end of the rotation where thinning explains up to 50% of the variance in near-infrared canopy albedo and up to 70% of the variance in visible canopy albedo. More intense thinning lowers the summertime shortwave albedo in the canopy by as much as 0.02 compared to unthinned forest. The structural changes associated with forest thinning can be described by the change in LAI in combination with crown volume. However, forests with identical canopy structure can have different summertime albedo values due to their location: the further north a forest is situated, the more the solar zenith angle increases and thus the higher is the summertime canopy albedo, independent of the wavelength. Despite the increase of absolute summertime canopy albedo values with latitude, the difference in canopy albedo between managed and unmanaged forest decreases with increasing latitude. Forest management thus strongly altered summertime forest albedo.
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