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A Simulation Model of the Role of Belowground Dynamics in a Florida Pine Plantation

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A model of a 29-yr-old slash pine (Pinus elliottii) plantation on a typical flatwoods site in north Florida evaluates the importance and magnitude of belowground processes in a forest. The model, which comprised 22 differential equations, most of them nonlinear, was parameterized with three sets of climate data and validated with measurements of soil moisture, soil CO2 evolution, root production, and root biomass. Simulated gross primary productivity (GPP) in a year with normal rainfall was 29.5 Mg ha-1 yr-1 (C), which is consistent with measurements of GPP in a variety of north Florida sites. In the model, one-third of GPP was translocated to the roots, where more than 75% was spent on respiration. Root respiration varied little among the three simulations. Root turnover times were more variable. In the low rainfall simulation, root turnover time was 21% longer than in the other two simulations, which were nearly the same. Simulated P concentration in the soil and plant had much less effect on plant processes than soil moisture did. General agreement of transpiration rates with other studies indicated that evapotranspiration is the only major water loss in slash pine flatwoods. Simulated water-borne P losses from the site were therefore insignificant. Simulated foliage biomass varied considerably during the year, decreasing to less than haft its maximum biomass during an annual cycle in one of the simulations. Comparison of the few sites with comparable estimates of C fixation and allocation suggests that 22%-43% of C fixed is used by roots, and that the proportion allocated to roots may be higher on nutrient-poor sites and sites with low temperatures. For. Sci. 37(1):397-438.
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Keywords: P budget; Pinus elliottii; carbon allocation; carbon budget; root dynamics; water budget

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor of Forest Ecology, Department of Forestry, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0303

Publication date: 1991-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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