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Keywords:

  • boreal ecosystems;
  • carbon fluxes;
  • eddy covariance;
  • mechanistic models;
  • temperature acclimation

Summary

  • In this study, we used a canopy photosynthesis model which describes changes in photosynthetic capacity with slow temperature-dependent acclimations.
  • A flux-partitioning algorithm was applied to fit the photosynthesis model to net ecosystem exchange data for 12 evergreen coniferous forests from northern temperate and boreal regions.
  • The model accounted for much of the variation in photosynthetic production, with modeling efficiencies (mean > 67%) similar to those of more complex models. The parameter describing the rate of acclimation was larger at the northern sites, leading to a slower acclimation of photosynthesis to temperature. The response of the rates of photosynthesis to air temperature in spring was delayed up to several days at the coldest sites. Overall photosynthesis acclimation processes were slower at colder, northern locations than at warmer, more southern, and more maritime sites.
  • Consequently, slow changes in photosynthetic capacity were essential to explaining variations of photosynthesis for colder boreal forests (i.e. where acclimation of photosynthesis to temperature was slower), whereas the importance of these processes was minor in warmer conifer evergreen forests.