A method for monitoring rates of primary productivity; it is particularly useful in studies of woodland or forest communities. The carbon-dioxide concentration from ground level to above canopy height is measured at regular intervals or continuously by sensors attached to a mast. Differences in carbon-dioxide concentration reflect differences in rates of photosynthesis and respiration and hence in productivity. The chief advantages of this approach are that it is non-destructive and causes minimal disturbance to the environment of the vegetation being studied. Other non-destructive methods usually enclose the vegetation (e.g. in polythene or plexiglass chambers), which might make results unrepresentative of normal field conditions. Compare chlorophyll method; gas-exchange method; harvest method. See flux study.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.