Simple envelope-based reconstruction methods can infer light partitioning among individual plants in sparse and dense herbaceous canopies

Abstract : Light interception controls the growth potential of species and individuals in plant communities. However, the effects of competition for light on short term vegetation dynamics are still poorly understood. This is in part due to a lack of quantitative methods to estimate this resource capture by individual plants within a canopy. In this paper, we studied the light interception of herbaceous plants with contrasting architectures (monocultures and binary mixtures) grown at high or low density and sought to determine the important architectural features necessary to account for light partitioning among individual plants. It was shown that the plant populations studied were typical of a wide range of competition intensities, ranging from sparse plants to dense size-structured populations. Plant representations using whole plant envelopes with homogeneous leaf area density (LAD) were not reliable to estimate light partitioning, irrespective of the accuracy of envelope definition. Accounting for heterogeneous LAD within plants helped to solve this problem in both sparse and dense canopies. The relative importance of traits however changed with competition intensity and was different from reports made on isolated plants. Simple envelope-based reconstructions were finally shown robust enough to support parameterisation from a tractable set of traits measured in the field provided that height and vertical LAD gradient were characterised.
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Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Elsevier Masson, 2012, 166-167, pp.98-112. 〈10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.06.014〉
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Gaëtan Louarn, David Da Silva, Christophe Godin, Didier Combes. Simple envelope-based reconstruction methods can infer light partitioning among individual plants in sparse and dense herbaceous canopies. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Elsevier Masson, 2012, 166-167, pp.98-112. 〈10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.06.014〉. 〈hal-00828848〉

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