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Open AccessArticle

Leaf Photosynthetic Capacity of Sunlit and Shaded Mature Leaves in a Deciduous Forest

by Guangman Song 1, Quan Wang 2,3,* and Jia Jin 2
1
Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan
2
Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan
3
Research Institute of Green Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(3), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030318
Received: 10 February 2020 / Revised: 12 March 2020 / Accepted: 12 March 2020 / Published: 13 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
A clear understanding of the dynamics of photosynthetic capacity is crucial for accurate modeling of ecosystem carbon uptake. However, such dynamical information is hardly available and has dramatically impeded our understanding of carbon cycles. Although tremendous efforts have been made in coupling the dynamic information of photosynthetic capacity into models, using “proxies” rooted from the close relationships between photosynthetic capacity and other available leaf parameters remains the popular selection. Unfortunately, no consensus has yet been reached on such “proxies”, leading them only applicable to limited cases. In this study, we aim to identify if there are close relationships between the photosynthetic capacity (represented by the maximum carboxylation rate, Vcmax) and leaf traits for mature broadleaves within a cold temperature deciduous forest. This is based on a long-term in situ dataset including leaf chlorophyll content (Chl), leaf nitrogen concentration (Narea, Nmass), leaf carbon concentration (Carea, Cmass), equivalent water thickness (EWT), leaf mass per area (LMA), and leaf gas exchange measurements from which Vcmax was derived, for both sunlit and shaded leaves during leaf mature periods from 2014 to 2019. The results show that the Vcmax values of sunlit and shaded leaves were relatively stable during these periods, and no statistically significant interannual variations occurred (p > 0.05). However, this is not applicable to specific species. Path analysis revealed that Narea was the major contributor to Vcmax for sunlit leaves (0.502), while LMA had the greatest direct relationship with Vcmax for shaded leaves (0.625). The LMA has further been confirmed as a primary proxy if no leaf type information is available. These findings provide a promising way to better understand photosynthesis and to predict carbon and water cycles in temperate deciduous forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: Vcmax; interannual variation; biochemical properties; structural traits Vcmax; interannual variation; biochemical properties; structural traits
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Song, G.; Wang, Q.; Jin, J. Leaf Photosynthetic Capacity of Sunlit and Shaded Mature Leaves in a Deciduous Forest. Forests 2020, 11, 318.

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