Nutrient availability and climate as the main determinants of the ratio of biomass to NPP in woody and non-woody forest compartments
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Trees: structure and function. - Berlin
, p. 775-783
University of Antwerp
Forest ecosystems accumulate large amounts of carbon in living tissues. The residence time of this carbon in the ecosystem depends largely on the turnover time of these tissues, which can be estimated as a surrogate of the ratio of biomass to net primary production (B:NPP). We used a global forest database of 310 sites containing data for biomass stocks and NPP to investigate the differences of B:NPPs among species and forest compartments and to determine B:NPPs main exogenous (mainly climate and nutrient availability) and endogenous (leaf habit and stand age) drivers. We used asymptotic exponential functions to adjust the B:NPPs of woody compartments to a theoretical stationary state to allow comparisons between forests of different ages. The B:NPPs of woody tissues (branches, stems, and coarse roots) were positively influenced by stand age, conversely to fine roots and leaves, which were weakly dependent on the age of the forest. The B:NPPs of woody tissues were positively correlated with nutrient availability, whereas fine-root B:NPPs decreased with increasing nutrient availability. The foliar B:NPP of evergreen forests was positively correlated with water deficit, and the fine-root B:NPP was correlated positively with the seasonality of precipitation and with annual thermal amplitude but negatively with water deficit. Our results support the influence of climate on the B:NPPs of non-woody compartments and identify nutrient availability as the main influence on the B:NPPs of woody tissues.