Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 167–180 | Cite as

Analysing the effects of local environment on the source-sink balance of Cecropia sciadophylla: a methodological approach based on model inversion

  • Véronique LetortEmail author
  • Patrick HeuretEmail author
  • Paul-Camilo Zalamea
  • Philippe De Reffye
  • Eric Nicolini
Original Paper


• Context

Functional–structural models (FSM) of tree growth have great potential in forestry, but their development, calibration and validation are hampered by the difficulty of collecting experimental data at organ scale for adult trees. Due to their simple architecture and morphological properties, “model plants” such as Cecropia sciadophylla are of great interest to validate new models and methodologies, since exhaustive descriptions of their plant structure and mass partitioning can be gathered.

• Aims

Our objective was to develop a model-based approach to analysing the influence of environmental conditions on the dynamics of trophic competition within C. sciadophylla trees.

• Methods

We defined an integrated environmental factor that includes meteorological medium-frequency variations and a relative index representing the local site conditions for each plant. This index is estimated based on model inversion of the GreenLab FSM using data from 11 trees for model calibration and 7 trees for model evaluation.

• Results

The resulting model explained the dynamics of biomass allocation to different organs during the plant growth, according to the environmental pressure they experienced.

• Perspectives

By linking the integrated environmental factor to a competition index, an extension of the model to the population level could be considered.


Cecropia Functional-structural model Model inversion Morphology Trophic competition 



The authors thank the students who helped us with measurements during the training program FTH organized by AgroParisTech, Kourou (UMR Ecofog): V. Bellassin, S. Braun, O. Djiwa, V. Le Tellier (FTH 2007), L. Menard, A. Jaecque, K. Amine, J. Kaushalendra (FTH 2008). We also thank B. Leudet, J. Beauchêne and F. Boyer for their help in the field, P.-H. Cournède for the use of the Digiplante software (Ecole Centrale Paris—INRIA Saclay, EPI Digiplante), and C. Sarmiento for her valuable comments on our manuscript.


This research was supported partially by an Ecos-Nord Colciencias and Paris 13 University grant (C08A01), and by the AIP INRA-INRIA of the Digiplante team-project (2008).


  1. Berg CC, Franco-Rosselli P (2005) Flora Neotropica, vol 94: Cecropia. New York Botanical Garden Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Christophe A, Letort V, Hummel I, Cournède PH, de Reffye P, Lecoeur J (2008) A model-based analysis of the dynamics of carbon balance at the whole-plant level in Arabidopsis thaliana. Funct Plant Biol 35:1147–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cournède PH, Kang M, Mathieu A, Barczi JF, Yan H, Hu B, de Reffye P (2006) Structural factorization of plants to compute their functional and architectural growth. Simul 82:427–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cournède PH, Mathieu A, Houllier F, Barthélémy D, de Reffye P (2008) Computing competition for light in the GREENLAB model of plant growth: a contribution to the study of the effects of density on resource acquisition and architectural development. Ann Bot 101:1207–1219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cournède PH, Letort V, Mathieu A, Kang M, Lemairee S, Trevezas S, Houllier F, de Reffye P (2011) Some parameter estimation issues in functional-structural plant modelling. Mat Model Nat Phenom 6:133–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. R Development Core Team (2008) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
  7. Dong Q, Louarn G, Wang Y, Barczi JF, de Reffye P (2008) Does the structure-function model GREENLAB deal with crop phenotypic plasticity induced by plant spacing? A case study on tomato. Ann Bot 101:1195–1206PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Godin C, Caraglio Y (1998) A multiscale model of plant topological structures. J Theor Biol 191:1–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Godin C, Costes E, Caraglio Y (1997) Exploring plant topological structure with the AMAPmod software: an outline. Silv Fenn 31:355–366Google Scholar
  10. Guo Y, Ma Y, Zhan Z, Li B, Dingkuhn M, Luquet D, de Reffye P (2006) Parameter optimization and field validation of the functional-structural model GreenLab for maize. Ann Bot 97:217–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hallé F, Oldeman R, Tomlinson P (1978) Tropical trees and forests, an architectural analysis. Springer, New-YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heuret P, Barthélémy D, Guédon Y, Coulmier X, Tancre J (2002) Synchronization of growth, branching and flowering processes in the south american tropical tree Cecropia obtusa (Cecropiaceae). Am J Bot 89:1180–1187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kang M, Yang L, Zhang B, de Reffye P (2011) Correlation between dynamic tomato fruit-set and source-sink ratio: a common relationship for different plant densities and seasons? Ann Bot 107:805–815PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kitajima K, Mulkey S, Samaniego M, Wright J (2002) Decline of photosynthetic capacity with leaf age and position in two tropical pioneer species. Am J Bot 89:1925–1932PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Letort V, Cournède PH, Mathieu A, de Reffye P, Constant T (2008) Parametric identification of a functional-structural tree growth model and application to beech trees (Fagus sylvatica). Funct Plant Biol 35:951–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Letort V, Heuret P, Zalamea C, Nicolini E, de Reffye P (2009) Analysis of Cecropia sciadophylla morphogenesis based on a sink-source dynamic model. In: Li B, Jaeger M, GuoY (ed) 3rd international symposium on Plant Growth and Applications (PMA09). IEEE Computer Society, Beijing, pp 10–17Google Scholar
  17. Lopez G, Favreau R, Smith C, Costes E, Prusinkiewicz P, DeJong T (2008) Integrating simulation of architectural development and source-sink behaviour of peach trees by incorporating Markov chains and physiological organ function submodels into L-PEACH. Funct Plant Biol 35:761–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mathieu A, Cournède PH, Letort V, Barthélémy D, de Reffye P (2009) A dynamic model of plant growth with interactions between development and functional mechanisms to study plant structural plasticity related to trophic competition. Ann Bot 103:1173–1186PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McConnaughay KDM, Coleman JS (1999) Biomass allocation in plants: ontogeny or optimality? A test along three resource gradients. Ecology 80:2581–2593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pallas B, Loi C, Christophe A, Cournède PH, Lecoeur J (2011) Comparison of three approaches to model grapevine organogenesis in conditions of fluctuating temperature, solar radiation and soil water content. Ann Bot 107:729–745PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Perttunen J, Nikinmaa E, Lechowicz MJ, Sievänen R, Messier C (2001) Application of the functional-structural tree model LIGNUM to sugar maple saplings (Acer saccharum Marsh) growing in forest gaps. An Bot 88:471–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pretzsch H (2002) The single tree-based stand simulator SILVA: construction, application and validation. For Ecol Manag 162:3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Prusinkiewicz P (2004) Modelling plant growth and development. Curr Opin Plant Biol 7:79–84PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Qi R, Letort V, Kang M, Cournède PH, de Reffye P, Fourcaud T (2009) Application of the GreenLab model to simulate and optimize wood production and tree stability: a theoretical study. Silv Fenn 43:465–487Google Scholar
  25. Sarrailh J-M (1992) Les pluies sur ECEREX de 1981 à 1991. Report, CIRAD-CTFT, Kourou, FranceGoogle Scholar
  26. Shinozaki K, Yoda K, Hozumi K, Kira T (1964) A quantitative analysis of plant form—the pipe model theory I. basic analysis. Jpn J Ecol 14:97–105Google Scholar
  27. Sievänen R, Nikinmaa E, Nygren P, Ozier-Lafontaine H, Perttunen J, Hakula H (2000) Components of functional-structural tree models. Ann For Sci 57:399–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sorresen-Cothern KA, Ford ED, Sprugel DG (1993) A model of competition incorporating plasticity through modular foliage and crown development. Ecol Monogr 63:277–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weiner J (2004) Allocation, plasticity and allometry in plants. Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst 6:207–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yan H, Kang M, de Reffye P, Dingkuhn M (2004) A dynamic, architectural plant model simulating resource-dependent growth. Ann Bot 93:591–602PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yin X, Goudriaan J, Lantinga EA, Vos J, Spiertz HJ (2003) A flexible sigmoid function of determinate growth. Ann Bot 91:361–371PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zalamea P-C (2010) Cecropia growth pattern periodicity: could a Neotropical genus be a good biological clock to estimate the age of disturbed areas? PhD thesis, Univerité Montpellier 2, FranceGoogle Scholar
  33. Zalamea P, Stevenson P, Madrienan S, Aubert PM, Heuret P (2008) Growth pattern and age determination for Cecropia sciadophylla (Urticaceae). Am J Bot 95:263–271PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhan Z, de Reffye P, Houllier F, Hu B (2003) Fitting a structural-functional model with plant architectural data. In: Hu BG, Jaeger M (eds) Proceedings, Plant Growth Modeling and Applications (PMA03). Tsinghua University Press and Springer Beijing, China, pp 236–249Google Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Mathematics and Systems (MAS)Ecole Centrale ParisChatenay-MalabryFrance
  2. 2.EPI DigiplanteINRIA SaclayORSAY CedexFrance
  3. 3.UMR AMAPINRAMontpellierFrance
  4. 4.UMR AMAPIRDMontpellierFrance
  5. 5.Departemento de Ciencias BasicasUniversidad de La SalleBogotaColombia
  6. 6.UMR AMAPCIRADMontpellierFrance
  7. 7.UMR ECOFOG Campus AgronomiqueINRAKourou cedexFrench Guiana

Personalised recommendations