Leaf dry matter content is better at predicting above-ground net primary production than specific leaf area

Simon Mark Smart, Helen Catherine Glanville, Maria del Carmen Blanes, Lina Maria Mercado, Bridget Anne Emmett, David Leonard Jones, Bernard Jackson Cosby, Robert Hunter Marrs, Adam Butler, Miles Ramsvik Marshall, Sabine Reinsch, Cristina Herrero-Jáuregui, John Gavin Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reliable modelling of above-ground net primary production (aNPP) at fine resolution is a significant challenge. A promising avenue for improving process models is to include response and effect trait relationships. However, uncertainties remain over which leaf traits are correlated most strongly with aNPP. We compared abundance-weighted values of two of the most widely used traits from the leaf economics spectrum (specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content) with measured aNPP across a temperate ecosystem gradient. We found that leaf dry matter content (LDMC) as opposed to specific leaf area (SLA) was the superior predictor of aNPP (R2 = 0·55). Directly measured in situ trait values for the dominant species improved estimation of aNPP significantly. Introducing intraspecific trait variation by including the effect of replicated trait values from published databases did not improve the estimation of aNPP. Our results support the prospect of greater scientific understanding for less cost because LDMC is much easier to measure than SLA. A lay summary is available for this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1336-1344
Number of pages9
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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    Smart, S. M., Glanville, H. C., Blanes, M. D. C., Mercado, L. M., Emmett, B. A., Jones, D. L., Cosby, B. J., Marrs, R. H., Butler, A., Marshall, M. R., Reinsch, S., Herrero-Jáuregui, C., & Hodgson, J. G. (2017). Leaf dry matter content is better at predicting above-ground net primary production than specific leaf area. Functional Ecology, 31(6), 1336-1344. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.12832