Preprints
https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2309.11458
https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2309.11458
08 Dec 2023
 | 08 Dec 2023

Distinguishing mature and immature trees allows to estimate forest carbon uptake from stand structure

Samuel Matthias Fischer, Xugao Wang, and Andreas Huth

Abstract. Relating forest productivity to local variations in forest structure has been a long-standing challenge. Previous studies often focused on the connection between forest structure and stand-level photosynthesis (GPP). However, biomass production (NPP) and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) are also subject to respiration and other carbon losses, which vary with local conditions and life history traits. Here, we use a simulation approach to study how these losses impact forest productivity and reveal themselves in forest structure. We fit the process-based forest model Formind to a 25 ha inventory of an old-growth temperate forest in China and classify trees as "mature" (full-grown) or "immature" based on their intrinsic carbon use efficiency. Our results reveal a strong negative connection between the stand-level carbon use efficiency and the prevalence of mature trees: GPP increases with the total basal area, whereas NPP and NEE are driven by the basal area of immature trees. Accordingly, the basal area entropy – a structural proxy for the prevalence of immature trees – correlated well with NPP and NEE and had higher predictive power than other structural characteristics such as Shannon diversity and height standard deviation. Our results were robust across spatial scales (0.04–1ha) and yield promising hypotheses field studies and new theoretical work.

Samuel Matthias Fischer, Xugao Wang, and Andreas Huth

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2759', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Samuel Fischer, 03 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2759', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Samuel Fischer, 03 Mar 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2759', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Samuel Fischer, 03 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2759', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Samuel Fischer, 03 Mar 2024
Samuel Matthias Fischer, Xugao Wang, and Andreas Huth
Samuel Matthias Fischer, Xugao Wang, and Andreas Huth

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Short summary
Understanding the drivers of forest productivity is key for accurately assessing forests’ role in the global carbon cycle. Yet, despite significant research effort, it is not fully understood how the productivity of a forest can be deduced from its stand structure. We suggest to tackle this problem by identifying the share and structure of immature trees within forests and show that this approach could significantly improve estimates of forests’ net productivity and carbon uptake.