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Entropy 2014, 16(7), 3710-3731; doi:10.3390/e16073710

The Role of Vegetation on the Ecosystem Radiative Entropy Budget and Trends Along Ecological Succession

Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan, 666303, China
School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University—Bloomington, 702 N Walnut Grove Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Brasilia, Brasilia 70910-900, Brazil
Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 June 2014 / Published: 3 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy in Hydrology)
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Ecosystem entropy production is predicted to increase along ecological succession and approach a state of maximum entropy production, but few studies have bridged the gap between theory and data. Here, we explore radiative entropy production in terrestrial ecosystems using measurements from 64 Free/Fair-Use sites in the FLUXNET database, including a successional chronosequence in the Duke Forest in the southeastern United States. Ecosystem radiative entropy production increased then decreased as succession progressed in the Duke Forest ecosystems, and did not exceed 95% of the calculated empirical maximum entropy production in the FLUXNET study sites. Forest vegetation, especially evergreen needleleaf forests characterized by low shortwave albedo and close coupling to the atmosphere, had a significantly higher ratio of radiative entropy production to the empirical maximum entropy production than did croplands and grasslands. Our results demonstrate that ecosystems approach, but do not reach, maximum entropy production and that the relationship between succession and entropy production depends on vegetation characteristics. Future studies should investigate how natural disturbances and anthropogenic management—especially the tendency to shift vegetation to an earlier successional state—alter energy flux and entropy production at the surface-atmosphere interface. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate zone; ecosystem energy balance; entropy; plant functional type; radiometric surface temperature climate zone; ecosystem energy balance; entropy; plant functional type; radiometric surface temperature

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Stoy, P.C.; Lin, H.; Novick, K.A.; Siqueira, M.B.S.; Juang, J.-Y. The Role of Vegetation on the Ecosystem Radiative Entropy Budget and Trends Along Ecological Succession. Entropy 2014, 16, 3710-3731.

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