Radiation use efficiency in adjacent hardwood and pine forests in the southern Appalachians

  • Authors: Pangle, Luke; Vose, James M.; Teskey, Robert O.
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Forest Ecology and Management doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.11.004.


The efficiency with which trees convert photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) to biomass has been shown to be consistent within stands of an individual species, which is useful for estimating biomass production and carbon accumulation. However, radiation use efficiency (e) has rarely been measured in mixed-species forests, and it is unclear how species diversity may affect the consistency of e, particularly across environmental gradients. We compared aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), intercepted photosynthetically active solar radiation (IPAR), and radiation use efficiency (e = ANPP/ IPAR) between a mixed deciduous forest and a 50-year-old white pine (Pinus strobus L.) plantation in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Average ANPP was similar in the deciduous forest (11.5 Mg ha-1 y -1) and pine plantation (10.2 Mg ha-1 y -1), while e was significantly greater in the deciduous forest (1.25 g MJ-1) than in the white pine plantation (0.63 g MJ-1). Our results demonstrate that late secondary hardwood forests can attain similar ANPP as mature P. strobus plantations in the southern Appalachians, despite substantially less annual IPAR and mineral-nitrogen availability, suggesting greater resource-use efficiency and potential for long-term carbon accumulation in biomass. Along a 260 m elevation gradient within each forest there was not significant variation in e. Radiation use efficiency may be stable for specific forest types across a range of environmental conditions in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and thus useful for generating estimates of ANPP at the scale of individual watersheds.

  • Citation: Pangle, Luke; Vose, James M.; Teskey, Robert O. 2009. Radiation use efficiency in adjacent hardwood and pine forests in the southern Appalachians. Forest Ecology and Management. 257: 1034-1042. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.11.004.
  • Posted Date: September 21, 2009
  • Modified Date: November 3, 2009
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