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Influence of Photosynthetic Crown Structure on Potential Productivity of Vegetation, Based Primarily on Mathematical Models

Jahnke, Leland S., Lawrence, Donald B.
Ecology 1965 v.46 no.3 pp. 319-326
chlorophyll, environmental factors, light intensity, mathematical models, primary productivity, vegetation
Productivity studies have shown that plants with marked vertical extension of photosynthetic crown can be more productive per unit area of land or water occupied than plants whose photosynthetic surface is spread in a thin horizontal sheet on the earth's surface if environmental factors are not otherwise limiting. Geometric models including a flat disc and cones of several heights but constant base radius show that heightening cones intercept progressively more light. Amount of chlorophyll displayed per unit area of earth's surface can also increase greatly with vertical extension of aerial crown. These observations suggest that thickness, geometric configuration, and chlorophyll content of the photosynthetic portion of the vegetation per unit area of earth's surface, and light intensity incident on surfaces at right angles to sun's rays should be measured and described as basic data in primary productivity studies.