Forest Canopy Properties and Variation in Aboveground Net Primary Production over Upper Great Lakes Landscapes

TitleForest Canopy Properties and Variation in Aboveground Net Primary Production over Upper Great Lakes Landscapes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDronova I, Bergen KM, Ellsworth DS
Pagination865 - 879
Date Published9/2011

Relationships among aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and forest canopy properties were investigated in secondary successional forests of similar age and disturbance history in northern Lower Michigan, USA. Aboveground biomass, ANPP, canopy leaf area index (LAI), and several canopy nitrogen (N) measures were estimated from 12 stands representing major landform-level ecosystems and vegetation associations. Stand single-date and growing season average normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVI) were derived from Landsat TM. ANPP correlated most strongly with total canopy N content (r 2 = 0.81, P < 0.001), followed by LAI (r 2 = 0.73, P < 0.001) and area-based canopy-average leaf N concentration (r 2 = 0.37, P < 0.05). No significant relationship was detected between ANPP and mass-based canopy-average leaf N concentration. Stand ANPP correlated positively with both total canopy N content (r 2 = 0.62, P < 0.05) and mass-based leaf N concentration (r 2 = 0.53, P < 0.05) of commonly dominant Populus spp. Relatively higher ANPP, total canopy N content and LAI corresponded to simultaneous presence of shade-intolerant P. grandidentata with shade-tolerant species. Both forms of NDVI were significantly related to ANPP, and more strongly to total canopy N content and LAI; relationships were stronger for seasonally averaged (r 2 ≥ 0.75, P < 0.001) than for single-date NDVI (r 2 ≥ 0.52, P < 0.01). Results indicate that on the transitioning study landscapes, ANPP was more closely related to canopy N content than to LAI, seasonally averaged NDVI was a more reliable predictor of ANPP and canopy properties than the single-date index, whereas measured canopy characteristics varied significantly between major landform-level ecosystems. The ongoing decline of P. grandidentata is likely to alter aboveground carbon and pools and fluxes in the course of succession.