Plant Competition for Light Analyzed with a Multispecies Canopy Model. III. Influence of Canopy Structure in Mixtures and Monocultures of Wheat and Wild Oat

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Springer Verlag

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A multispecies canopy photosynthesis simulation model was used to examine the importance of canopy structure in influencing light interception and carbon gain in mixed and pure stands of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and wild oat (Avena fatua L.), a common weedy competitor of wheat. In the mixtures, the fraction of the simulated canopy photosynthesis contributed by wheat was found to decline during the growing season and this decline was closely related to reductions in the amount of leaf area in upper canopy layers. For both species in mixture and in monoculture, simulated photosynthesis was greatest in the middle or upper-middle canopy layers and sensitivity analyses revealed that canopy photosynthesis was most sensitive to changes in leaf area and leaf inclination in these layers. Changes in LAI and leaf inclination affected canopy carbon gain differently for mixtures and monocultures, but the responses were not the same for the two species. Results from simulations where the structural characteristics of the two species were substituted indicated that species differences in leaf inclination, sheath area and the fraction of leaf area alive were of minor consequence compared with the differences in total leaf area in influencing relative canopy carbon gain in mixtures. Competition for light in these species mixtures appears to be influenced most by differences in the positioning of leaf area in upper canopy layers which determines, to a great extent, the amount of light intercepted.


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