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During the 1996 growing season the seasonal dynamics of the Leaf Area Index (LAI) were determined by 3 different methods in two forest types: a mixed oak (Quercus robur L.) – beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) stand and an ash dominated (Fraxinus excelsior L.) stand. The results obtained from the two indirect methods, i.e. hemispherical photography and LAI-2000 Plant Canopy Analyser (Li-COR), were compared with the results of the direct measurement of litter fall collected in litter trap systems. In this study the direct method is considered to be the reference, giving the most accurate LAI-values. Both the hemispherical photography and the LAI-2000 PCA introduced an underestimation of LAI when the actual canopy leaf distribution in the crown layer deviates from a random distribution of leaf area in space as is found in the mixed oak/beech stand. However, when the condition of random leaf distribution is nearly fulfilled (ash stand), the LAI-2000 PCA gave LAI-values which were close to the results obtained from the direct method. Regression curves with R2 > 0.93 could be calculated for both indirect methods.