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Importance of Foliar Nitrogen Concentration to Predict Forest Productivity in the Mid-Atlantic Region

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To assess what difference it might make to include spatially defined estimates of foliar nitrogen in the regional application of a forest ecosystem model (PnET-II), we composed model predictions of wood production from extensive ground-based forest inventory analysis data across the Mid-Atlantic region. Spatial variation in foliar N concentration was assigned based on a correlation with mean July temperature for deciduous forests and with latitude for coniferous forests. Although the slight variation observed in foliar N in conifers had little effect on predicted wood production, large differences in N concentration in deciduous trees increased agreement with field surveys by 12–59% in individual states and by 17% across the region. The validation revealed the need to develop regional foliar N concentration equations that represent the spatial variations of N concentration in deciduous forests to improve PnET-II's predictions. FOR. SCI. 50(3):279–289.

Keywords: PnET-II; Wood production; ecosystem model; environmental management; forest; forest inventory and analysis data (FIA); forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; validation

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester Global Change Research, Newtown Square Corporate Campus USDA Forest Service 11 Campus Blvd., Suite Newtown Square PA 19073 Phone: (610) 557-4205;, Fax: (610) 557-4200, Email: 2: Deputy Program Manager Newtown Square Corporate Campus USDA Forest Service Newtown Square PA 19073 3: Visiting Assistant Professor Gund Institute for Ecological Economics University of Vermont Bington VT 05402 4: Program Manager Newtown Square Corporate Campus USDA Forest Service Newtown Square PA 19073

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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