Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Modelling Canopy Production. II. From Single-Leaf Photosynthesis Parameters to Daily Canopy Photosynthesis

PJ Sands

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 22(4) 603 - 614
Published: 1995


This paper presents a simple algorithm for calculating daily canopy photosynthesis given parameters of the single-leaf light response, the canopy extinction coefficient, canopy leaf area index, daylength, daily solar irradiance and daily maximum and minimum temperatures. Analytical expressions are derived for total daily production by a canopy of leaves whose light response is either a rectangular hyperbola or a Blackman response. An expression which gives an excellent approximation to canopy photosynthesis for an arbitrary hyperbolic light response is then derived. These expressions assume photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) within the canopy follows Beer's law, light-saturated photosynthetic rate at any point in the canopy is proportional to the ratio of local PAR to full-sun PAR, diurnal variation of PAR is sinusoidal, and parameters of the single-leaf photosynthetic light response do not vary diurnally. It is shown how these expressions can be used to accommodate diurnal temperature variation of photosynthesis in a simple manner. The accuracy of the approximation to the basic integral of leaf photosynthesis over the canopy and over time is illustrated by applying the algorithm to compute the seasonal variation of daily canopy photosynthesis and comparing these data with corresponding values obtained by numerical integration.

© CSIRO 1995

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