, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 249–256 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variations in the photosynthesis-nitrogen relationship in a Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) canopy

  • H. Kobayashi
  • S. Inoue
  • K. Gyokusen
Original Papers


Spatial and temporal variations in light-saturated photosynthetic capacity and needle nitrogen (N) content were investigated in one 8 m tall Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) canopy for a full year. The photosynthetic capacity and needle N content in various layers of the canopy were measured every month. Temporal variations in photosynthetic capacity and needle N content expressed on a projected-area basis (Parea, Narea) were similar. Furthermore, both Parea and Narea decreased with increasing depth from the top of the canopy on each sampling date. As a consequence, a significant correlation was observed between Narea and Parea. Temporal variations in photosynthetic capacity and needle N content expressed on a mass basis (Pmass, Nmass) were also similar. Pmass also decreased with increasing canopy depth. However, in contrast to Narea, there was only a slight decrease in Nmass with increasing canopy depth. Hence, the correlation between Nmass and Pmass was lower than the projected-area value. Because Narea was highly correlated with the needle mass per projected-area (NMA), the spatial variation in Narea (and therefore Parea) in the canopy is attributed to the variation in NMA, which decreases as the depth from the top of the canopy increases. Furthermore, the slope of the linear regression between Narea and NMA differed between sampling dates, indicating that the temporal variations in Narea (and therefore Parea) are strongly influenced by Nmass. For most of the sampling dates, a linear regression between Narea and Parea tends to converge into a single line segment. However, on several sampling dates, there was a pronounced decline in Parea below this line segment. This reduction in Parea, which does not accompany a reduction in Narea, seems to be attributable to stomatal limitations induced by the low soil temperature in winter and early spring.

Additional key words

canopy nitrogen distribution light environment needle development photosynthetic capacity winter depression 



atmospheric CO2 concentration


intercellular CO2 concentration


stomatal conductance




needle nitrogen per projected-area


needle nitrogen per dry mass


needle mass per projected-area


light-saturated photosynthetic capacity per projected-area


light-saturated photosynthetic capacity per dry mass


photosynthetic photon flux density


relative PPFD


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The authors wish to thank the staff and students at the Research Institute of Kyushu University Forests for their kind support of our work. We also thank to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Kyushu University ForestsFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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