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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 59, NO.

6, JUNE 2011

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An Empirical Propagation Model for Forest


Environments at Tree Trunk Level
Joaquim A. R. Azevedo and Filipe E. S. Santos

AbstractThe estimation of the received signal strength inside


forest environments is very dependent on the vegetation density.
However, most published empirical models only provide calculation of the path loss as a function of distance and frequency. The
importance of these models is their simplicity. This paper presents
a model that was developed from an extensive measurement campaign carried out for different vegetation densities and types of
trees. Noting the typical decaying behaviour of signal propagation, the objective was to estimate the main parameters of the lognormal model that fits the measured data. Since in many applications both the transmitter and the receiver are inside the forest,
the propagation path is mainly characterized by tree trunks. In
this case, it was found that the signal attenuation is dependent on
the vegetation density, defined by the product of the tree density
and the average diameter of the trunks. In addition to the measurements used to develop the model, other experiments were conducted to test it. The study also included a comparison with other
methods in order to evaluate the performance of the model.
Index TermsAttenuation measurement, forest density, propagation models.

I. INTRODUCTION

HE increasing use of ubiquitous systems provides new


developments for forest monitoring [1], [2]. The deployment of a wireless sensor network inside a forest environment
requires prior knowledge of the distance between nodes in order
to provide full connectivity. Therefore, propagation algorithms
to determine the path loss and the broadcast signal coverage are
essential for network planning. The transmitted signal may experience severe attenuation due to the scattering, diffraction, reflection and absorption effects caused by the trees. Propagation
models that allow foreseeing the signal attenuation can be derived either empirically or theoretically. The former are simpler
but their application is limited to the environments where the
data was collected to determine the main parameters. The latter
are more general but require a large database of environmental
characteristics, which may be impractical [3].
Some well-known empirical models were developed to determine the attenuation for a wide range of frequencies [4][9].
These models are very simple but do not provide any control

Manuscript received January 26, 2010; revised October 07, 2010; accepted
November 15, 2010. Date of publication April 19, 2011; date of current version
June 02, 2011. This work was supported by the CCM research unit and by the
FEDER program of the European Community through the Interreg III B-05/
MAC/2.3/C16 project.
The authors are with the Exact Sciences and Engineering Centre, University
of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal (e-mail: jara@uma.pt).
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TAP.2011.2143664

parameters related to the forest environment. Other works evaluate some existing empirical models and adapt their parameters
to be in agreement with measured results at certain frequencies
[10], [11]. Noting a logarithmic decay of the average received
signal with the distance, some authors use the log-normal path
loss model to calculate the attenuation produced by vegetation
[12][15]. The recommendation of the International Telecommunication Union for attenuation in vegetation consists of a
model based on the theory of radiative energy transfer [16]. The
total loss is calculated by combining the diffraction and scattering effects produced by the trees and by the reflection on the
ground. Nevertheless, measurements must be performed to extract the vegetation parameters.
For the present paper, it was important to evaluate the conditions under which the measurements to develop propagation
models for forest environments are usually carried out. In some
situations, trees are oriented in a single line, contrasting with the
random nature of a forest [6], [7], [10], [17]. Tewari, Swarup,
and Roy [18] developed an empirical model based on measurements undertaken in tropical rain forest of India, for frequencies
of 50, 200, 500, and 800 MHz. Fifteen receiving points were
chosen for distances between 40 m and 4 Km. Chen and Kuo [9]
measured the attenuation in a forest environment for frequencies between 1 and 100 GHz (with steps of 5 GHz) and for ten
receiving points between 10 and 100 m. Wang and Sarabandi
[19] conducted measurements with red pine stand for three different forest densities at 500 MHz. Phaiboon and Somkuarnpanit [14] obtained the parameters of the log-normal model for
three groups of trees at 1.8 GHz and for receiving points at 3,
4, and 5 m above the ground. The difference in results is small
for the three receiving antenna heights. Meng, Lee, and Ng [11]
performed measurements in a palm plantation at frequencies of
240 and 700 MHz.
As can be noticed from published works, the measurement
data collected inside forests are very limited. Due to the great
complexity of theoretical models and randomness of forest environments, the development of empirical models to estimate the
attenuation produced by trees remains a challenging research
issue. For the purposes of forest monitoring, the knowledge of
the propagation behavior is required at a few meters above the
ground and for distances up to a few hundred meters from the
transmitter. In this case, in many situations the propagation path
is at the tree trunk level. Interestingly, even in dense forests the
leaves are usually at the higher levels of the forest in order to
reach the sunlight. Therefore, the regions inside the vegetation
are mainly dominated by trunks and branches without leaves, a
trend that ends at the forest limits.
In this paper, an empirical model is developed that considers
parameters related to the forest environment. For this purpose,

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 59, NO. 6, JUNE 2011

Fig. 2. Application of the log-normal model.

with in GHz and in m. The COST 235 model [8] considers


the situations in which the trees are in-leaf or out-of-leaf. The
excess attenuation is given by

Fig. 1. Comparison between empirical models and measurements.

an extensive measurement campaign was carried out for two frequencies of the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) bands:
900 MHz and 2.4 GHz. Since several empirical models provide
the relation between attenuation and frequency, this information
and the measured data allowed the tweaking of the parameters
of the developed model to predict the attenuation for a wider
range of frequencies.

in-leaf
out-of-leaf

(4)

with in MHz and in m. Based on the ITU-R recommendation


[5], Al-Nuaimi and Stephens [7] have developed a model using
measurement data at 11.2 and 20 GHz (FITU-R model)
in-leaf
out-of-leaf

(5)

Several propagation models have been considered to estimate


the path loss. One of the most simple is the free space loss [20]

with in MHz and in m. Meng, Lee, and Ng [11] have optimized this equation for the VHF and UHF bands with measurement data at 240 MHz and 700 MHz. The model takes into
account the lateral component where the signal follows the treetops. The lateral ITU-R model is defined by

(1)

(6)

with the frequency in GHz and the distance to the transmitter


in meters. This is a theoretical model valid for the far-field region when the first ellipsoid of Fresnel is free of obstacles. To
include the ground reflection over a plane earth, the path loss is
given by

valid for in-leaf since the model was developed with measurements of a palm plantation. The model proposed by Chen and
Kuo [9] is given for vertical and horizontal polarizations

II. ATTENUATION MODELS

(2)
and
the transmitter and receiver antenna heights,
with
and is the wavelength. For large disrespectively,
tances from the transmitter, that is,
, (2) only de, and
, and the attenuation exceeds the one
pends on ,
corresponding to the free space [20].
For empirical models, it has been found that the one developed by Weissberger [4] estimates the excess attenuation produced by vegetation
(3)

vertical
horizontal
(7)
with in GHz and in m.
From the presented models, it may be noticed that they depend on the frequency and distance but no other parameters related to the forest environment are considered.
Another important model extensively used is the log-normal
[21], with the path loss given by
(8)
with the path loss exponent, that indicates the rate at which
for free space),
the signal attenuates with the distance (
is the path loss at a known reference distance
in the
denotes a zero mean Gaussian random variable
far-field and

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TABLE I
PARAMETERS FOR 870 MHz (n; P L(d );  )

(in dB) with standard deviation , and reflects the variation of


the received power around the average. The three variables of
(8) can be used to obtain a relationship between the path loss
inside a forest and the parameters of trees.
To evaluate the possibility of using the log-normal model to
obtain the path loss in forest environments, some initial measurements were performed for places with different tree densities. A XBee-PRO sensor node was used to transmit a signal
at 2.4 GHz with 18 dBm of maximum output power. The re-

ceived signal is measured with a spectrum analyzer. Measurements were performed with antennas at 2.7 m above the ground,
with vertical polarization, and for a distance of 1 m between
measuring points. Fig. 1 shows two measurement sets, represented by small circles and dots. The first one was carried out
and trunks with 30
in a zone of pine trees with 0.075
cm of average diameter. The second set of measurements was
and 14
carried out in a cryptomeria forest with 0.4
cm of average diameter of trunks. For comparison, Fig. 1 also

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 59, NO. 6, JUNE 2011

Fig. 3. Experimental model.

Fig. 4. Measurements and curve of tendency.

shows the results obtained by empirical models. As shown in the


figure, existing empirical models produce large errors in the prediction of the attenuation. The Chen and Kuo model follows the
first set of measurements very well but not the second one. The
Weissberger model and the FITU-R out-of-leaf model follow
the second set but produce large errors for the first one.
From the results, as aforementioned, the empirical models are
valid for environments similar to those used to derive the expressions. Furthermore, even for the same frequency great differences exist between predictions. Therefore, it is necessary to
relate the path loss with the forest environment parameters for
a better estimation of the attenuation.
The log-normal model can be used to fit the measured data,
which is accomplished by the least squares fit method. The application of this model to the previous results is represented in
Fig. 2. For the results defined by circles, the parameters of the
,
,
log-normal model are:
. For the results defined by dots, the parameand
,
ters of the log-normal model are:
, and
. The logarithmic decay of the received
signal power is easily identified in the graphs. It is clear that the
log-normal model is suitable to estimate the attenuation. The
next stage is to determine the relation between the log-normal
parameters and the forest characteristics.
III. MEASUREMENTS
To develop an adequate model to deal with systems whose
transmitter and receiver are inside vegetation, an extensive campaign of measurements was carried out in several forests of the
Madeira Island for different tree species, densities and trunk diameters. This task lasted more than two years. The study was

performed for two frequencies bands (900 MHz and 2.4 GHz)
in order to relate the attenuation with frequency. Fig. 3 shows
the experimental model used to perform the measurements.
For the measurements at the first band, the frequency of 870
MHz was chosen which is inside the band considered in Europe.
The transmitter is a Signal Generator IFR2030 with 10 dBm of
output power and the receiver is a Spectrum Analyzer R&S FSH
with 6 GHz bandwidth. The system uses two dipoles, each with
1.8 dBi of antenna gain measured in the cable entry. The antennas were placed 3 m above the ground and were connected to
the system through RG213/U coaxial cables. For the second frequency band, the AWM612 TX transmitter, operating at 2.414
GHz with 27 dBm of output power, was used. The transmitter
antenna is a monopole of 2.2 dBi and the receiver antenna is a
dipole of 1.9 dBi.
The measurements were made in about thirty different places
with several different tree types. Most experimental data were
collected for distances up to 90 m from the transmitter. Depending on the forest conditions for providing larger distances
with a similar density of trees, several measurements were carried out for distances up to 120 or 140 m. The experimental data
were collected at one meter of distance between measurement
points, giving more than five thousand positions. The path loss
includes the free space loss and the excess attenuation produced
by the forest environment.
Twenty measurement sets were considered to develop a
model based on the log-normal decaying. The other data sets
were used to evaluate the model. The main parameters of the
model were extracted by curve fitting of the data. Fig. 4 shows
an example with measurements performed up to 120 m in an
area of pine trees. Over each measurement set the curve of tendency that provides values for the parameters of the log-normal
model is shown.
Tables I and II show the log-normal model parameters for
870 MHz and 2.414 GHz, respectively. The first column corresponds to the tree type. It was important to cover several types of
forest vegetation and different densities. In the second column
the average density of trees is shown and the third one represents the average diameter of trunks. The measurements cover
areas from low-density environments up to very dense environments. In the fourth column, a parameter was defined that is the
by the average diameter
multiplication of the tree density
,
of trunks
(9)
The table rows are sorted in rising order of this parameter. The
,
remaining columns show the model parameters
extracted from data of different distances of the last measured
position (50 m, 60 m, 70 m, 80 m, and 90 m). In this paper, it is
.
supposed that
In the first line of each cell of parameters the path loss expo.
nent parameter is presented. In general, increases with
Another important aspect is the dependence of to the distance
to the last measured position, usually increasing with that value.
Several measurements carried out in other places up to distances
of 140 m demonstrated that, in general, this parameter continues
to increase although more slowly.

AZEVEDO AND SANTOS: FOREST ENVIRONMENTS AT TREE TRUNK LEVEL

Using the values of both tables, several graphs relating with


the forest parameters were constructed. The best results were
. This relation is
obtained for the relation between and
approximately linear. Although this relationship shows considerable variability for distances until 50 m, consistent results are
produced for larger distances of the last measurement position.
Fig. 5 shows the graphs for measurements considered up to 90
m. Comparing the path loss parameter of both frequencies, is
on average 0.1 higher for 2.414 GHz than for 870 MHz. This
.
difference tends to decrease with the density
parameter was also obtained by curve fitting of
The
data. These results are represented in the second line of each
cell of parameters of Tables I and II. In contrast to the evoludecreases with the
tion of , in general, the parameter
distance of the last measured position. Therefore, although the
curve of tendency exhibits a higher decay rate with distance, this
. Thus, the attenuation does
is performed with a lower
not increase drastically.
and
were constructed.
Several graphs relating
Fig. 6 shows the results for measurements considered up to 90
m. They show that some values diverge from the linear tendency. To understand this difference, other experiments were
conducted in the same forest region, but in different places. It
was found out that trees in the front of the transmitter may produce a greater blockage of signals.
After removing the free space loss and comparing the results
is on average 0.8 dB higher for
of both frequencies,
2.414 GHz than for 870 MHz. This finding is consistent with
models that relate excess attenuation with the frequency.
The last parameter considered for the log-normal model is
defined by the standard deviation, .
the random variable
As performed for the other parameters, several graphs relating
and
were constructed. Fig. 7 shows the standard deviation
for measurements performed up to 90 m. For other distances this
parameter suffers less variability than the previous parameters.
IV. EMPIRICAL MODEL
The objective is to relate each parameter of the log-normal
model with the forest characteristics. The results of Tables I and
II were used in this study, except those of the 50 m column since
the parameters extracted with this distance vary greatly.

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870 MHz
2.414 GHz
870 MHz
2.414 GHz

(11)

These curves are represented in Fig. 8 by the dashed line for 870
MHz and by the continuous line for 2.414 GHz. The expressions
above 60 m. From
defined in (11) are valid for values of
tends to the free space value
for very long
(11),
distances.
is in
Using (10) and (11), the relation between and
a very good correspondence with the linear relations obtained
from measurements. The standard deviations for the difference
between the simulated and the measured results are shown in
Table III.
B. Parameter
The parameter
was evaluated with a procedure identical to the one performed for parameter . Thus, the results of
the last four columns of Tables I and II were represented in sevby
eral graphs similar to that of Fig. 6. Defining
(12)
it was concluded that the parameter
, being
the free space at

is very near to that of

870 MHz
2.414 GHz

(13)

Imposing these values, the relation between


and
is
represented in Fig. 9 by circles and dots. The following relations
were obtained by linear fitting:
870 MHz
2.414 GHz

(14)

These expressions are represented in Fig. 9 by the dashed line


for 870 MHz and by the continuous line for 2.414 GHz.
were determined using
The simulated results for
(12). The standard deviations for the difference between the
and the measured results are shown in
simulated
Table IV.
C. Standard Deviation

A. Path Loss Exponent Parameter


To evaluate the parameter in order to be valid for several
distances of the last measured position, the results of the last
four columns of Tables I and II were used to obtain graphs simis apilar to that of Fig. 5. As the relation between and
proximately linear, the two constants of the linear fitting were
represented in a graph. Therefore, the path loss exponent parameter is given by
(10)
is the distance to the transmitter considered for deterIf
mining the log-normal model parameters, Fig. 8(a) relates the
with
and Fig. 8(b) refers to
. These paparameter
rameters were determined by curve fitting, giving

The last parameter of the log-normal model, represented by


, can be defined by the standard deviation. Fig. 7 reveals
that a good approximation of the values is obtained by using
, it is considered
the mean. Since the results vary little with
that
870 MHz
2.414 GHz

(15)

The standard deviation of this approximation is 0.6 dB for 870


MHz and 0.7 dB for 2.414 GHz.
D. Distances Near the Transmitter
The parameters and
were defined as a function of
and
. The log-normal model is also defined by the distance to the transmitter
to obtain an estimation of the path

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TABLE II
PARAMETERS FOR 2.414 GHz (n; P L(d );  )

loss. If the model is applied to an extension of the forest higher


than 60 m, one can choose the value of
as the maximum
distance to be simulated. For distances below 60 m, it should
in the calculation of and
,
be considered
except for those near the transmitter. In this case, the model estimates an attenuation lower than that of free space. From measurements in this region, it may be noticed that the attenuation
follows that of the free space model. The distances for which
this approximation is valid is obtained after the calculation of

and
. Therefore, the free space model is applied up to
the maximum distance given by

(16)
defined in (13). The maximum distance obtained
with
from measurements is on average 4.6 m for 870 MHz and 3.4
m for 2.414 GHz.

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Fig. 5. Parameter n for 90 m.

Fig. 8. Parameters: (a) x

. (b) x

TABLE III
STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF THE ESTIMATION OF n

Fig. 6. Parameter P L(d ) for 90 m.

Fig. 7. Standard deviation for 90 m.

E. Relation between Attenuation and Frequency


The expressions derived for determining the parameters of
the log-normal model were developed for the frequencies used
in the measurements. However, it is important to generalize the
model for other frequencies.
For the parameter , Fig. 10(a) shows the difference between
the results of 2.414 GHz and 870 MHz, represented by dots.
For simulations up to 90 m, the difference between frequencies
obtained from (10) is given by
(continuous line), which follows the linear fit of the measured
results very closely. The average of is 0.11 for the measured
results and 0.12 for the simulated ones, implying a higher decay
for higher frequencies.

Fig. 9. Parameter x

TABLE IV
STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF THE ESTIMATION OF P L(d )

The difference between the results of the parameter


for the two frequencies can be visualized in Fig. 10(b). From
. This
simulations this is obtained as
the difference is equivalent to the free
means that for
.
space attenuation and it increases with the increasing of
The average difference is 9.7 dB for measured results and 9.8 dB

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 59, NO. 6, JUNE 2011

Fig. 11. Variation of the excess attenuation with frequency.

(17)
Fig. 11 shows the relation between the excess attenuation
and the frequency for
. For comparison, the results
obtained from Weissberger and FITU-R out-of-leaf models are
also represented.
The previous expressions are valid up to distances of 400 m
and for frequencies from 300 MHz to 30 GHz.
Fig. 10. Difference between frequencies: (a) parameter
P L(d ).

n.

(b) Parameter

for the simulated ones. Considering that 8.9 dB is the difference


for the free space, the extra difference is on average 0.9 dB.
It may be noted that there are several published empirical
models for the relation between attenuation and frequency.
Since those models do not provide a relation between attenuation and tree density, it can be considered an average result.
From Fig. 1, the Weissberger and the FITU-R out-of-leaf
models seem to be suitable to be compared with results of the
present work due to its evolution with the distance.
Equation (11) was simplified to develop appropriate expressions for the parameters of the log-normal model.
From Fig. 8(a), the difference between the curves is only
on average 0.01 and both curves can be replaced by
. From Fig. 8(b), both curves
tend to have the same evolution for distances above 80 m,
, with
for 870
giving
MHz and
for 2.414 GHz.
, Fig. 9 shows that both lines
For the parameter
have the same slope. Equation (14) can be defined by
, with
for 870 MHz and
for 2.414 GHz.
to the freTo obtain expressions to relate and
quency, appropriate curves were determined to pass through
and . These curves follow a tendency that is controlled by
the relationship between attenuation and frequency, given by
published empirical models. From this study, the expressions
for the parameters of the log-normal model become,

V. RESULTS
The log-normal model, with the parameters defined by (10)
and (12), was applied to the measurements used to develop the
model. Free space attenuation was considered for distances
below the one given by (16). For the twenty different places
previously considered, the average differences between simulated and measured results were determined. The standard
deviation for this difference is 2.6 dB for both frequencies. To
evaluate this difference, the measurement sets that produced
differences higher than the standard deviation were identified.
Three places are in this situation with results between 4 and 7
dB. As previously mentioned, this occurs when several trees
around the transmitter obstruct the transmitted signal.
A study was also performed for measurements carried out
behind trees. This may be important, for instance, for wireless
sensor network deployment applications when some nodes are
hidden behind trees. Using the data of 25 positions, for both frequencies, the average level behind trees is around 6 dB below
the average of the received signal. The standard deviation for
this difference is 4 and 5 dB for 870 MHz and 2.414 GHz, respectively.
To evaluate the additional attenuation produced by the transmitter immediately blocked by a trunk, some other experiments
were performed. The transmitter was placed near a trunk and the
additional attenuation was determined for the rotation of the receiver around the tree. The transmitter and the receiver antennas
are 3 m above the ground. As represented on top of Fig. 12, the
received signal was obtained at angles of 30 and for three distances to the transmitter: 5 m, 20 m and 40 m. Fig. 12 shows
the results for the 2.414 GHz frequency. The continuous lines
indicate the measurements performed in a typical situation of
a tree in a forest, surrounded by other trees. In this case, the
higher additional attenuation occurs for the distance of 5 m. For
the other distances from the transmitter the results are similar

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Fig. 12. Attenuation produced by trunk for rotation of the receiver for 2.414
GHz.

and the additional attenuation is lower, due to the reflections


provided by other trees. For an environment with a single tree
the additional attenuation is higher and is less dependent on the
distance, as can be seen in Fig. 12 by the dashed lines. Similar results were obtained for 870 MHz. Therefore, for transmitters placed near trunks, an additional attenuation of about 15
dB must be considered for obstructed directions. This attenuation may be higher for small distances from the transmitter or
for environments without other trees. Another experiment was
performed with the transmitter at different distances from the
trunk and for a tree surrounded by other ones. In this case, the
additional attenuation is reduced by about 10 dB at one meter
from the transmitter to the trunk. After that, the additional attenuation decreases more slowly.
In addition to the measurements carried out to develop the
empirical model, other measurements were performed to test
the model. This includes places where the forest has a great variability in the tree density. Even in these cases, the model follows
the measurements quite well. Fig. 13(a) shows the measureand 9 cm of
ments for a eucalyptus zone, with 0.65
.
average diameter of trunks. The density parameter is
The parameters of the model for 870 MHz, calculated by (10)to
and
. This is represented
(14), are
and
in Fig. 13(a) by the dashed line. For 2.414 GHz,
are obtained, represented in Fig. 13(a) by
the continuous line. The average difference between simulated
and measured results is 2.4 dB for 870 MHz and 0.4 dB for
2.414 GHz. Fig. 13(b) shows the measurements for a cedar and
and 60 cm of average diameter
pine zone, with 0.043
. This place is very irregular. For
of trunks, giving
distances up to 40 m cedar trees dominate and after that appears
a pine tree zone. For distances between 45 m and 55 m and between 65 m and 80 m there are open spaces without trees. For
distances around 90 m the tree density is very high. Applying
and
are obthe proposed model,
and
tained for 870 MHz, and
for 2.414 GHz. It is interesting to note that even in this case the
model follows the average of the measurements.

Fig. 13. Comparison between measurements and obtained by the model. (a)
VD
: ,d
. (b) V D
.
: ,d

= 5 9 = 90 m

= 2 6 = 100 m

The model was also applied to the results presented in Fig. 2


for measurements carried out with a XBee sensor node at 2.7
m above the ground. For the pine forest and for small distances
from the transmitter, the estimated attenuation is higher than the
one obtained from the measurements. However, the estimation
of the attenuation for higher distances is very good. The difference between the simulated and the measured results at the
cryptomeria forest has 0.6 dB of average error.
The model was also tested for other frequencies and it was
compared with other methods. Due to the lack of measurements
at trunk level and for different frequencies, two comparisons
were performed. The first one considers a frequency of 15 GHz,
providing to test the model for higher frequencies. The second
comparison was performed at 1.8 GHz and for a distance of 300
m, allowing the evaluation of the model for longer distances.
Chen and Kuo [9] performed measurements at 1, 5, 10, and 15
and 34 cm of avGHz in an environment with 0.043
erage diameter of trunks. The transmitter and the receiver were
at 1.5 m above the ground. Fig. 14 shows the results for 15
GHz, represented by dots, after including the free space loss.
and
For 15 GHz and distances up to 100 m, from (17),
are obtained. With these parameters, the
log-normal model gives the result represented in Fig. 14 by the
continuous line. The average difference between the simulated
and measured results is 1.6 dB, with 5.6 dB of standard deviation. The results for the empirical model developed by Chen and
Kuo are represented by a dashed line. The average difference
between simulation and measurements is 3.8 dB with 3.1 dB of
standard deviation. Also for comparison, the Weissberger model
is represented by a dotted line. The proposed method provides

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 59, NO. 6, JUNE 2011

type and vegetation density. The attenuation is also very dependent on the position of the transmitter.
VI. CONCLUSION

Fig. 14. Comparison between models with measurements at 15 GHz.

The empirical model presented in this work is important to


estimate signal attenuation levels produced by vegetation for
systems operating inside forests. Since in this case the antennas
are at few meters above ground and at relatively small distances,
the propagation path is mainly influenced by trunks.
The model is based on log-normal decay and the corresponding parameters were determined using data from a large
measurement campaign performed in several different locations. In contrast with most well-known empirical models, the
deduced expressions include a vegetation density parameter
enabling estimations of the path loss for different forest environments. The effects of obstruction produced by trunks were
also studied and an additional attenuation must be considered
in such cases. Although dealing with two frequency band measurements, the model was generalized for other frequencies.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors wish to thank to C. Santos, J. Agrela, T. Braga,
and T. Sousa for the collaboration with the measurements, and
to Dr. I. Oakley for his help with the text.
REFERENCES

Fig. 15. Comparison between models with measurements at 1.8 GHz.

better average error but higher standard deviation compared to


the Chen and Kuo model. It may be noted that Chen and Kuo
have developed their model with measurements performed for
the above mentioned vegetation density.
Another example consists of measurements carried out at 1.8
GHz [14]. For the transmitter and the receiver at 3 and 1.5
m above the ground, respectively, the measurements were perand 40 cm of average diformed in a zone with 0.032
ameter of trunks. The results are represented in Fig. 15 by dots.
For 1.8 GHz and distances until 300 m, from (17),
and
are obtained. Fig. 15 shows the result for the log-normal model represented by a continuous line
and the average error between simulated and measured results
is 1.1 dB with 5.8 dB of standard deviation. A comparison with
other models is also performed and the results are represented in
Fig. 15. The model that produces a smaller error is the LITU-R
model since it was developed to follow data for higher distances. However, the average difference between simulated and
measured results is 7.6 dB, with 7.8 of standard deviation, producing a higher estimation error when compared with the proposed model. As may be noticed from [11], the diffraction over
treetop considered in the LITU-R model is only important for
low frequencies and high distances from the transmitter. The errors produced by the other models are very high.
Although developed for the trunk level, the model was applied to environments with tree crowns in the propagation path.
Several measurement sets were carried out to test this situation.
The results revealed a higher attenuation in comparison with the
simulation at trunk level, with a very high dependence of leaf

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Joaquim A. R. Azevedo was born in 1966. He
studied electrical engineering and received the Engineering degree, the Master degree, and the Ph.D.
degree in telecommunications from the Universities
of Oporto and Algarve, in 1990, 1994, and 2001,
respectively.
Currently, he is teaching subjects in the areas
of signal processing, propagation, antennas and
telecommunications at the Exact Sciences and
Engineering Centre, University of Madeira, Portugal. His major fields of interest are unification of

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radiation procedures on electromagnetics, models for antenna array synthesis,


propagation models and wireless sensor networks.
Dr. Azevedo is a member of the Engineering Order and he is also member of
the CCM, a Government Research Unit.

Filipe E. S. Santos was born in 1981. He studied systems and computers engineering with specialization
in telecommunications at the University of Madeira,
Portugal, where he received an Engineering degree in
2004 and the Master degree in telecommunications
and networks in 2010.
Currently, he is working at the Exact Sciences
and Engineering Centre, University of Madeira.
His major fields of interest are microelectronics,
automation, and wireless sensor networks