Can light-saturated photosynthesis in lowland tropical forests be estimated by one light level?

Lore T. Verryckt, David S. Ellsworth, Sara Vicca, Leandro Van Langenhove, Josep Peñuelas, Philippe Ciais, Juan M. Posada, Clément Stahl, Sabrina Coste, Elodie A. Courtois, Michael Obersteiner, Jérôme Chave, Ivan A. Janssens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Leaf-level net photosynthesis (An) estimates and associated photosynthetic parameters are crucial for accurately parameterizing photosynthesis models. For tropical forests, such data are poorly available and collected at variable light conditions. To avoid over- or underestimation of modeled photosynthesis, it is critical to know at which photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) photosynthesis becomes light-saturated. We studied the dependence of An on PPFD in two tropical forests in French Guiana. We estimated the light saturation range, including the lowest PPFD level at which Asat (An at light saturation) is reached, as well as the PPFD range at which Asat remained unaltered. The light saturation range was derived from photosynthetic light-response curves, and within-canopy and interspecific differences were studied. We observed wide light saturation ranges of An. Light saturation ranges differed among canopy heights, but a PPFD level of 1,000 µmol m−2 s−1 was common across all heights, except for pioneer trees species that did not reach light saturation below 2,000 µmol m−2 s−1. A light intensity of 1,000 µmol m−2 s−1 sufficed for measuring Asat of climax species at our study sites, independent of the species or the canopy height. Because of the wide light saturation ranges, results from studies measuring Asat at higher PPFD levels (for upper canopy leaves up to 1,600 µmol m−2 s−1) are comparable with studies measuring at 1,000 µmol m−2 s−1.

Translated title of the contribution¿Puede estimarse la fotosíntesis saturada en los bosques tropicales de tierras bajas mediante un solo nivel de luz?
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1193
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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