The Barber-Cushman mechanistic nutrient uptake model, which has been utilized extensively to describe and predict nutrient uptake by crop plants, was evaluated for its ability to predict K, Mg, and P uptake by loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings. Sensitivity analyses were also used to investigate the impact of changes in soil nutrient supply, root morphological, and root uptake kinetics parameters on simulated nutrient uptake. Established experimental techniques were utilized to define the 11 parameters needed to model uptake by 1-0 seedlings of K, Mg, and P from a modified A horizon soil (Lilly series). Model predictions of K and P uptake over a 180-d growth period were underestimated by 6 and 11%, respectively. Estimates of Mg uptake were underestimated by 62%. While the level of agreement between predicted and observed K and P values was quite acceptable, analysis of parameter values and results of sensitivity analyses both indicated that the model underestimation of Mg uptake was the result of applying an Imax value developed under relatively low Mg concentration to a situation in which the functional Imax would be much higher due to the dominance of passive versus active uptake. Overall results of sensitivity analyses indicate that under the circumstances investigated, Imax, was the primary variable controlling plant uptake of K, Mg, and P. The dominance of this term over others was due to the relatively high Cli values for all three nutrients. Reducing (-50%) or increasing (+ 100%) other soil supply, root morphological, and remaining root uptake kinetics values did not substantially alter model estimates of nutrient uptake.
Barber-Cushman model CliImaxloblolly pine nutrient uptake sensitivity analysis