Influence of site index on the relationship between forest net primary productivity and stand age
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Previous studies show that forest net primary productivity (NPP) varies pronouncedly with stand age, and these variations play a crucial role in determining forest carbon sinks or sources at regional scales. Some forest carbon cycling models, eg. InTEC (The integrated terrestrial ecosystem C-budget model), calculates annual forest NPP in the long term according to normalized NPP-age relationships and the reference forest NPP at a given age. Therefore, the accurate NPP-age relationship is important for forest NPP estimation. In this study, NPP at various stand ages for twelve major forest stand types in Heilongjiang Province in northeast China is derived from yield tables with consideration of the total biomass increment and foliage and fine-root turnovers. Similar to previous studies, our results also show that forest NPP increases quickly at young ages, reaches the maximum value at middle age (10-40 years old), and then decreases to a relative stable level at old ages. However, we additionally found that forests under better site conditions have faster growth rates in young ages and steeper declines after reaching the maximum. Therefore, when the NPP-age curves for different site indices are normalized against the maximum value of each curve, there are significant differences among them. These differences have implications on the methodology for estimating the spatial distribution of forest carbon sources and sinks.
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