, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 520–526

Maximizing daily canopy photosynthesis with respect to the leaf nitrogen allocation pattern in the canopy

  • T. Hirose
  • M. J. A. Werger
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00378977

Cite this article as:
Hirose, T. & Werger, M.J.A. Oecologia (1987) 72: 520. doi:10.1007/BF00378977


A model of daily canopy photosynthesis was constructed taking light and leaf nitrogen distribution in the canopy into consideration. It was applied to a canopy of Solidago altissima. Both irradiance and nitrogen concentration per unit leaf area decreased exponentially with increasing cumulative leaf area from the top of the canopy. The photosynthetic capacity of a single leaf was evaluated in relation to irradiance and nitrogen concentration. By integration, daily canopy photosynthesis was calculated for various canopy architectures and nitrogen allocation patterns. The optimal pattern of nitrogen distribution that maximizes the canopy photosynthesis was determined. Actual distribution of leaf nitrogen in the canopy was more uniform than the optimal one, but it realized over 20% more photosynthesis than that under uniform distribution and 4.7% less photosynthesis than that under the optimal distribution. Redeployment of leaf nitrogen to the top of the canopy with ageing should be more effective in increasing total canopy photosynthesis in a stand with a dense canopy than in a stand with an open canopy.

Key words

Canopy structure Nitrogen allocation Optimization Photosynthesis Solidago altissima 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Hirose
    • 1
  • M. J. A. Werger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Plant EcologyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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