The foliage density equation is the means by which the foliage density g in a leaf canopy, as a function of the angle of inclination of the leaves, is to be estimated from discrete data gathered using photometric methods or point quadrats. It is an integral equation relating f, a function of angle estimated from measurements, to the unknown function g. The explicit formula for g is known and depends upon f and its first three derivatives; the operator f →, g is unbounded, and the problem is ill posed.
In this paper we give the form of g when f is a trigonometric polynomial, extending earlier results due to J. R. Philip. This provides a means of estimating g without directly estimating the derivatives of f from numerical data. To assess the reliability of the method we discuss the convergence of Fourier series representations of f and g.