Journal Article

A stochastic model of tree architecture and biomass partitioning: application to Mongolian Scots pines

Feng Wang, Mengzhen Kang, Qi Lu, Véronique Letort, Hui Han, Yan Guo, Philippe de Reffye and Baoguo Li

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 107, issue 5, pages 781-792
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq218
A stochastic model of tree architecture and biomass partitioning: application to Mongolian Scots pines

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Mongolian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) is one of the principal species used for windbreak and sand stabilization in arid and semi-arid areas in northern China. A model-assisted analysis of its canopy architectural development and functions is valuable for better understanding its behaviour and roles in fragile ecosystems. However, due to the intrinsic complexity and variability of trees, the parametric identification of such models is currently a major obstacle to their evaluation and their validation with respect to real data. The aim of this paper was to present the mathematical framework of a stochastic functional–structural model (GL2) and its parameterization for Mongolian Scots pines, taking into account inter-plant variability in terms of topological development and biomass partitioning.

Methods

In GL2, plant organogenesis is determined by the realization of random variables representing the behaviour of axillary or apical buds. The associated probabilities are calibrated for Mongolian Scots pines using experimental data including means and variances of the numbers of organs per plant in each order-based class. The functional part of the model relies on the principles of source–sink regulation and is parameterized by direct observations of living trees and the inversion method using measured data for organ mass and dimensions.

Key Results

The final calibration accuracy satisfies both organogenetic and morphogenetic processes. Our hypothesis for the number of organs following a binomial distribution is found to be consistent with the real data. Based on the calibrated parameters, stochastic simulations of the growth of Mongolian Scots pines in plantations are generated by the Monte Carlo method, allowing analysis of the inter-individual variability of the number of organs and biomass partitioning. Three-dimensional (3D) architectures of young Mongolian Scots pines were simulated for 4-, 6- and 8-year-old trees.

Conclusions

This work provides a new method for characterizing tree structures and biomass allocation that can be used to build a 3D virtual Mongolian Scots pine forest. The work paves the way for bridging the gap between a single-plant model and a stand model.

Keywords: Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica; functional–structural plant model; canopy architecture; three-dimensional; forest canopy; virtual plant; GreenLab, parameterization

Journal Article.  7402 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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