Observations of ecosystem net carbon dioxide exchange obtained with eddy covariance techniques over a 4-year period at spruce, beech and pine forest sites were used to derive time series data for gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco). A detailed canopy gas exchange model (PROXELNEE) was inverted at half-hour time step to estimate seasonal changes in carboxylation capacity and light utilization efficiency of the forest canopies. The parameter estimates were then used further to develop a time-dependent modifier of physiological activity in the daily time step gas exchange model of Chen et al. (1999), previously used for regional simulations in BOREAS. The daily model was run under a variety of assumptions and the results emphasize the need in future analyses: (1) to focus on time-dependent seasonal changes in canopy physiology as well as in leaf area index, (2) to compare time courses of physiological change in different habitats in terms of recognizable cardinal points in the seasonal course, and (3) to develop methods for utilizing information on seasonal changes in physiology in regional and continental carbon budget simulations. The results suggest that the daily model with appropriate seasonal adjustments for physiological process regulation should be an efficient tool for use in conjunction with remote sensing for regional evaluation of global change scenarios.