We evaluated several optical methods for in situ estimation of leaf area index (LAI) in a Belgian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand. The results obtained were compared with LAI determined from allometric relationships established in the same stand. We found high correlations between branch cross-sectional area, diameter at breast height (DBH) and basal area as dependent variables, and leaf mass, needle area and crown projection as independent variables. We then compared LAI estimated by allometry with LAI determined by three optical methods (LAI-2000, TRAC and digital hemispherical photography) both before and after corrections for blue light scattering, clumping and non-leafy material. Estimates of stand LAI of Scots pine ranged from 1.52 for hemispherical photography to 3.57 for the allometric estimate based on DBH. There was no significant difference (alpha = 0.01) between the allometric LAI estimates and the optical LAI values corrected for blue light scattering, clumping and interception by non-leafy material. However, we observed high sensitivity of the optical LAI estimates to the various conversion factors, particularly to the clumping factor, indicating the need for caution when correcting LAI measured by optical methods.