BioEnergy Research

, Volume 1, Issue 3–4, pp 229–238 | Cite as

Assessment of Canopy Structure, Light Interception, and Light-use Efficiency of First Year Regrowth of Shrub Willow (Salix sp.)

  • Pradeep J. Tharakan
  • Timothy A. Volk
  • Christopher A. Nowak
  • Godfrey J. Ofezu


According to the light-use efficiency model, differential biomass production among willow varieties may be attributed either to differences in the amount of light intercepted, the efficiency with which the intercepted light is converted to aboveground biomass, or both. In this study, variation in aboveground biomass production (AGBP) was analyzed in relation to fraction of incoming radiation intercepted (IPARF) and light-use efficiency (LUE) for five willow varieties. The plants were grown in a short-rotation woody crop (SRWC) system and were in their first year of regrowth on a 5 year old root system. The study was conducted during a two-month period (June 15th–August 15th, 2001) when growing conditions were deemed most favorable. The objectives were: (1) to assess the relative importance of IPARF in explaining variation in AGBP, and (2) to identify the key drivers of variation in LUE from a suite of measured leaf and canopy-level traits. Aboveground biomass production varied nearly three-fold among genotypes (3.55–10.02 Mg ha−1), while LUE spanned a two-fold range (1.21–2.52 g MJ−1). At peak leaf area index (LAI), IPARF ranged from 66%–92%. Nonetheless, both IPARF and LUE contributed to AGBP. An additive model combining photosynthesis on leaf area basis (Aarea), leaf mass per unit area (LMA), and light extinction coefficient (k) produced the most compelling predictors of LUE. In a post-coppice willow crop, the ability to maximize IPARF and LUE early in the growing season is advantageous for maximizing biomass production.


Aboveground biomass Canopy structure Light interception Light-use efficiency Willow (Salix sp.) 



Light-saturated photosynthesis per unit leaf area μmol m−2 s−1


Aboveground biomass production Mg ha−1


Light-saturated photosynthesis per unit leaf mass nmol g−1 s−1


Leaf compensation irradiance


Fraction of incoming photosynthetically active radiation intercepted


Total incoming photosynthetically active radiation intercepted MJ m−2


Infrared gas analyzer


Light extinction coefficient for Beer’s law


Leaf area index


Leaf mass per unit area g m−2


Light-use efficiency g MJ−1


Leaf nitrogen concentration expressed on a per unit area g m−2


Leaf nitrogen concentration expressed on a per unit mass g kg−1


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Photosynthetically active radiation μmol m−2 s−1


Incident photosynthetically active radiation on top of the canopy μmol m−2 s−1


Photosynthetically active radiation below the canopy μmol m−2 s−1


Photon flux density μE m−2 s−1


Short-rotation woody crop


State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pradeep J. Tharakan
    • 1
  • Timothy A. Volk
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christopher A. Nowak
    • 2
  • Godfrey J. Ofezu
    • 2
  1. 1.International Resources GroupWashington DCUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Forest and Natural Resources ManagementState University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)SyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Dept. of Forest and Natural Resources ManagementSUNY-ESFSyracuseUSA

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