Performance of trees in forest canopies: explorations with a bottom-up functional–structural plant growth model

Authors

  • F. J. Sterck,

    Corresponding author
    1. Utrecht University, Plant Sciences, PO Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht, the Netherlands;
    2. Wageningen University, Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, PO Box 342, 6700 AH Wageningen, the Netherlands
      Author for correspondence: Frank Sterck Tel: +31 317 478046 Fax: +31 317 478078 Email: frank.sterck@wur.nl
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  • F. Schieving,

    1. Utrecht University, Plant Sciences, PO Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht, the Netherlands;
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  • A. Lemmens,

    1. Wageningen University, Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, PO Box 342, 6700 AH Wageningen, the Netherlands
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  • T. L. Pons

    1. Utrecht University, Plant Sciences, PO Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht, the Netherlands;
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Author for correspondence: Frank Sterck Tel: +31 317 478046 Fax: +31 317 478078 Email: frank.sterck@wur.nl

Summary

  • • Here we present a functional–structural plant model that integrates the growth of metamers into a growing, three-dimensional tree structure, and study the effects of different constraints and strategies on tree performance in different canopies.
  • • The tree is a three-dimensional system of connected metamers, and growth is defined by the flush probability of metamers. Tree growth was simulated for different canopy light environments.
  • • The result suggest that: the constraints result in an exponential, logistic and decay phase; a mono-layered-leaf crown results from self-shading in a closed canopy; a strong apical control results in slender trees like tall stature species; the interaction between weak apical control and light response results in a crown architecture and performance known from short stature species in closed forest; correlated leaf traits explain interspecific differences in growth, survival and adult stature.
  • • The model successfully unravels the interaction effects of different constraints and strategies on tree growth in different canopy light environments.

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