Forest structure in space and time: Biotic and abiotic determinants of canopy complexity and their effects on net primary productivity

TitleForest structure in space and time: Biotic and abiotic determinants of canopy complexity and their effects on net primary productivity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFotis AT, Morin TH, Fahey RT, Hardiman BS, Bohrer G, Curtis PS
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Volume250-251
Pagination181 - 191
Date PublishedJan-03-2018
ISSN01681923
Abstract

The structural dynamics of forest canopies involve complex interactions among the abiotic environment, stand structure, species composition and disturbance regimes. How the re-arrangement of tree canopies in space and time affects forest aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) remains poorly understood, however. In this study, we analyzed a long-term dataset from a temperate deciduous forest in Northern Michigan, USA, to investigate two primary objectives: 1) what abiotic and biotic factors influence canopy complexity and its inter-annual variability, and 2) the direct and indirect effects that abiotic, biotic and canopy complexity variables have on ANPP. We hypothesized that inter-annual variability in canopy complexity would be lower in high complexity canopies and that temporal variability in complexity metrics would be inversely related to ANPP. We found that canopy complexity was highest in more taxonomically diverse stands with high variability in tree diameters and in stands dominated by Populus tremuloides and Populus grandidentata. Canopy complexity was lowest in stands dominated by Quercus rubra and Pinus strobus, which also had lower ANPP. Stands with a high stem density had lower inter-annual variation in canopy complexity, exhibited more height growth and an increase in canopy open space, which in turn enhanced ANPP. Our results provide novel empirical evidence linking temporal stability in canopy complexity to ANPP, and suggest that variability in canopy complexity over time, in addition to the overall mean canopy complexity, may be important when considering drivers of forest carbon uptake.

URLhttp://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0168192317306718http://api.elsevier.com/content/article/PII:S0168192317306718?httpAccept=text/xmlhttp://api.elsevier.com/content/article/PII:S0168192317306718?httpAccept=text/plain
DOI10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.12.251
Short TitleAgricultural and Forest Meteorology