Analyses of the growth of Scots pine: matching structure with function
A theoretical framework to analyse the growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is presented. Material exchange processes and internal processes that transport, transform and consume materials are identified as the components of growth. Hierarchical system is lined out. Momentary uptake of material at a single exchange site depends on the environmental condition next to the exchange site, the internal state of the biochemical system of the plant and the structure of the plant. The internal state depends on the exchange flows over period of time and the structural growth depends on the internal state. The response of these processes to the fluxes is controlled by the genetic composition of the plant.
The theoretical framework is formulated into a mathematical model. A concept of balanced internal state was applied to describe the poorly known internal processes. Internal substrate concentrations were assumed to remain constant but tissue-specific. A linear relationship between the quantity of foliage and wood cross-sectional area was assumed to describe balanced formation of structure. The exchange processes were thus described as a function of external conditions. The stand level interactions were derived from shading and effects of root density on nutrient uptake.
The approach was tested at different levels of hierarchy. Field measurements indicated that the hypothesis of the linear relationship described well the regularities between foliage and sapwood of a tree within a stand when measured at functionally corresponding height. There was considerable variation in the observed regularities in the range of geographic occurrence of Scots pine. Model simulations gave a realistic description of stand development in Southern Finland. The same model was also able to describe growth differences in Lapland after considering the effect of growing season length in the parameter values. Simulations to South Russia indicate stronger deviation from the observed patterns.
The simulations suggest interesting features of stand development. They indicate strong variability in the distribution of carbohydrates between tree parts during stand development. Internal circulation of nutrients and the reuse of the same transport structure by various needle generations had a strong influence on the simulation results.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Published in 1992