Aspen Bibliography

Effects of seasonal and interannual climate variability on net ecosystem productivity of boreal deciduous and conifer forests.

Document Type



Canadian Journal of Forest Research


M.J. Apps, T. Karjalainen, B.J. Stocks, C. Shaw

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The role of boreal forests and forestry in the global carbon budget





First Page


Last Page


Publication Date



The response of net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and evaporation in a boreal aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) forest and a black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) forest in Canada was compared using a newly developed realistic model of surface-atmosphere exchanges of carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, and energy as well as eddy covariance flux measurements made over a 6-year period (1994-1999). The model was developed by incorporating a process-based two-leaf (sunlit and shaded) canopy conductance and photosynthesis submodel in the Canadian Land Surface Scheme (CLASS). A simple submodel of autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration was combined with the photosynthesis model to simulate NEP. The model performed well in simulating half-hourly, daily, and monthly mean CO2 exchange and evaporation values in both deciduous and coniferous forests. Modeled and measured results showed a linear relationship between CO2 uptake and evaporation, and for each kilogram of water transpired, approximately 3 g of carbon (C) were photosynthesized by both ecosystems. The model results confirmed that the aspen forest was a weak to moderate C sink with considerable interannual variability in C uptake. In the growing season, the C uptake capacity of the aspen forest was over twice that of the black spruce forest. Warm springs enhanced NEP in both forests; however, high mid-summer temperatures appear to have significantly reduced NEP at the black spruce forest as a result of increased respiration. The model suggests that the black spruce forest is a weak C sink in cool years and a weak C source in warm years. These results show that the C balance of these two forests is sensitive to seasonal and interannual climatic variability and stresses the importance of continuous long-term flux measurement to confirm modeling results.