To study the leaf area index, LAI, based thermal performance in distinguishing trees for Cairo's urban developments, ENVI-met plants database was used as platform for a foliage modeling parameter, the leaf area density, LAD. Two Egyptian trees: Ficus elastica. and Peltophorum pterocarpum were simulated in 2 urban sites with one having no trees, whilst the second is having Ficus nitida trees. Trees LAD values were calculated using flat leaves' trees LAI definition to produce maximum ground solid shadow at peak time. An empirical value of 1 for LAI is applied to numerically introduce LAD values for ENVI-met.\ud \ud Basically, different meteorological records showed improvements for pedestrian comfort and ambient microclimate of the building using E elastica. About 40-50% interception of direct radiation, reductions in surfaces' fluxes around trees and in radiant temperature T-mrt in comparison to base cases gave preferability to E elastica. The lack of soil water prevented evapotranspiration to take place effectively and the reduced wind speeds concluded negligible air temperature differences from both base cases except slightly appeared with the F elastica. Results show that a flat leaves tree if does not validate LAI of 1, the ground shading would not fulfill about 50% direct radiation interception and this value can be used as a reference for urban trees selection.\ud \ud Further simulations were held to investigate LAI value of maximum direct radiation interception.\ud \ud Performing additional simulations, F elastica of LAI of 3 intercepted almost 84% of direct radiation and revealed implications about urban trees in practice and its actual LAI. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.\u
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