, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 26–44 | Cite as

Using Light-Use and Production Efficiency Models to Predict Photosynthesis and Net Carbon Exchange During Forest Canopy Disturbance

  • Bruce D. Cook
  • Paul V. Bolstad
  • Jonathan G. Martin
  • Faith Ann Heinsch
  • Kenneth J. Davis
  • Weiguo Wang
  • Ankur R. Desai
  • Ron M. Teclaw


Vegetation growth models are used with remotely sensed and meteorological data to monitor terrestrial carbon dynamics at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Many of these models are based on a light-use efficiency equation and two-component model of whole-plant growth and maintenance respiration that have been parameterized for distinct vegetation types and biomes. This study was designed to assess the robustness of these parameters for predicting interannual plant growth and carbon exchange, and more specifically to address inconsistencies that may arise during forest disturbances and the loss of canopy foliage. A model based on the MODIS MOD17 algorithm was parameterized for a mature upland hardwood forest by inverting CO2 flux tower observations during years when the canopy was not disturbed. This model was used to make predictions during a year when the canopy was 37% defoliated by forest tent caterpillars. Predictions improved after algorithms were modified to scale for the effects of diffuse radiation and loss of leaf area. Photosynthesis and respiration model parameters were found to be robust at daily and annual time scales regardless of canopy disturbance, and differences between modeled net ecosystem production and tower net ecosystem exchange were only approximately 2 g C m−2 d−1 and less than 23 g C m−2 y−1. Canopy disturbance events such as insect defoliations are common in temperate forests of North America, and failure to account for cyclical outbreaks of forest tent caterpillars in this stand could add an uncertainty of approximately 4–13% in long-term predictions of carbon sequestration.


Malacosoma disstria Hübner primary production ecosystem respiration quantum efficiency carbon utilization efficiency MODIS. 

List of symbols


absorbed photosynthetically active radiation


carbon, leaf


carbon, total ecosystem


cloudiness index


photosynthetic light-use efficiency


gross primary production


leaf area index


net ecosystem production


respiration, base


respiration, total ecosystem


respiration, forest tent caterpillars


respiration, growth


respiration, heterotrophic


respiration, leaf maintenance


temperature, minimum daily canopy air


temperature, soil


vapor pressure deficit, mean daytime


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce D. Cook
    • 1
  • Paul V. Bolstad
    • 1
  • Jonathan G. Martin
    • 2
  • Faith Ann Heinsch
    • 3
  • Kenneth J. Davis
    • 4
  • Weiguo Wang
    • 5
  • Ankur R. Desai
    • 6
  • Ron M. Teclaw
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest ScienceOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.College of Forestry and ConservationThe University of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  4. 4.Department of MeteorologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US Department of EnergyRichlandUSA
  6. 6.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesThe University of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  7. 7.North Central Research Station, USDA Forest ServiceRhinelanderUSA

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