Primary Production and Allocation

Authored by: Frank Berninger , Kelvin S.-H. Peh , Hazel K. Smith

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447

10.4324/9781315818290.ch25

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Abstract

The products of photosynthesis constitute almost the entirety of plant dry biomass and contribute critically to global primary production. It is for this reason that increasing photosynthesis, both in terms of efficiency and level is so desirable for stakeholders such as farmers and foresters. However, some systems, such as tropical rain forests, produce relatively low levels of woody biomass despite high photosynthetic production levels. Scenarios such as this complicate the relationship between photosynthesis and dry biomass yield. Another example of the ambiguous relationship between these two interlinked traits is that of inter-annual variation in photosynthetic production, which shows only a moderate correlation with stem biomass growth. This suggests that the percentage of photosynthetic production used for stem growth varies from year to year as well as between sites (Rocha et al. 2006, Gea-Izquierdo et al. 2014). In this chapter we will explore why the relationship between photosynthetic production and wood growth is not straightforward. We will consider which environmental factors determine the photosynthetic production of forests and how the products of photosynthesis are allocated within the plant for biomass production.

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