Estimation of fine root mortality and growth from simple measurements: a method based on system dynamics


This study is a further development of a dynamic compartment-flow analysis, intended as an analytical tool for the empirical estimation of fine root growth, mortality and decomposition in forest soil. General properties of the dynamic system are utilised to interpret relatively simple measurements of standing biomass, necromass, and decomposition, in order to derive estimates of the process rates. The method is based on the finding that the ratio of fine root necromass to biomass is related to the specific rates of decomposition, mortality, and net growth. If the decomposition rate is measured and the net growth trend is determined from live root measurements, mortality and gross growth can be estimated using these relationships, provided certain regularity requirements are met. These requirements are explicated, such that the estimates can be easily assessed for reliability. To illustrate the use of the method, it was applied to the estimation of specific mortality rates in seven Scots pine stands of different ages and site types. A reanalysis of a previous sequential coring study yielded consistent results. The advantage of this method is that, unlike the standard analysis of sequential cores, it accounts for the possibility of simultaneous growth, mortality and decomposition. It is therefore applicable to situations with no apparent fluctuations or trend in the biomass and necromass levels. No minimum sampling interval is required; hence the method also allows for more extensive or prolonged studies.

DOI: 10.1007/s004680050224

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@article{Mkel2000EstimationOF, title={Estimation of fine root mortality and growth from simple measurements: a method based on system dynamics}, author={Annikki M{\"a}kel{\"a} and P. Vanninen}, journal={Trees}, year={2000}, volume={14}, pages={316-323} }