Light use efficiency (LUE) is a key indicator of vegetation photosynthesis, which provides important insights into how vegetation productivity responds to environmental conditions. The photochemical reflectance index (PRI) is based on reflectance at 531 and 570 nm, which reflects the xanthophyll cycle process of plants under different radiation conditions, and makes LUE related to plant optical characteristics. In this study, tower-based PRI and eddy covariance (EC) based LUEs were used to explore the ability of PRI to track LUE variations in a subtropical, evergreen mixed forest in South China. The results indicate that there is a stronger relationship between PRI and LUE, corrected by the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), where R2
= 0.46 before correction and R2
= 0.60 after correction. Generally, PRI is able to capture diurnal and seasonal changes in LUE. Simultaneously, this study highlights a significant correlation between LUE and PRI, but there is also a large seasonal difference in its correlation. The correlation in winter was significantly stronger than summer. The strongest correlation is found in November (R2
= 0.91) and the weakest is in July (R2
= 0.34). Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) had a strong influence on the LUE-PRI relationship, while vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and air temperature (Ta) had negative influences on the relationship between LUE and PRI. Terrestrial laser scanning is used to retrieve the vertical structure of forest crown. Our results show that the vegetation canopy structure (i.e., effective leaf area index, LAIe
), extracted from terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) point data in subtropical mixed forests, had a weak influence on LUE. Our research suggests that environmental factors and vegetation canopy structures should be considered when using PRI to accurately estimate LUE.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited