International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 449–464

Simulating stand climate, phenology, and photosynthesis of a forest stand with a process-based growth model


    • Lehrstuhl für WaldwachstumskundeTU München
  • Michael Leuchner
    • Fachgebiet für ÖkoklimatologieTU München
  • Angela J. Nunn
    • Lehrstuhl für Ökophysiologie der PflanzenTU München
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00484-009-0298-0

Cite this article as:
Rötzer, T., Leuchner, M. & Nunn, A.J. Int J Biometeorol (2010) 54: 449. doi:10.1007/s00484-009-0298-0


In the face of climate change and accompanying risks, forest management in Europe is becoming increasingly important. Model simulations can help to understand the reactions and feedbacks of a changing environment on tree growth. In order to simulate forest growth based on future climate change scenarios, we tested the basic processes underlying the growth model BALANCE, simulating stand climate (air temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and precipitation), tree phenology, and photosynthesis. A mixed stand of 53- to 60-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica) in Southern Germany was used as a reference. The results show that BALANCE is able to realistically simulate air temperature gradients in a forest stand using air temperature measurements above the canopy and PAR regimes at different heights for single trees inside the canopy. Interception as a central variable for water balance of a forest stand was also estimated. Tree phenology, i.e. bud burst and leaf coloring, could be reproduced convincingly. Simulated photosynthesis rates were in accordance with measured values for beech both in the sun and the shade crown. For spruce, however, some discrepancies in the rates were obvious, probably due to changed environmental conditions after bud break. Overall, BALANCE has shown to respond to scenario simulations of a changing environment (e.g., climate change, change of forest stand structure).


Single tree growth modelClimate changeStand climatePhenologyPhotosynthesis

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© ISB 2010