Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (6): 661-669.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0257

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Canopy structure and radiation interception of Salix matsudana: Stand density dependent relationships

Jing CHEN, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO*(), Ji-Wei WANG, Lian-Chun ZHAO   

  1. College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Research Center of Wetland Resources Protection and Industrial Development Engineering of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2017-05-03 Accepted:2016-08-04 Online:2017-07-19 Published:2017-06-10
  • Contact: Cheng-Zhang ZHAO
  • About author:

    KANG Jing-yao(1991-), E-mail:


Aims Plants can enhance their photosynthetic efficiency and competitiveness by adjusting canopy structure and radiation interception. The objective of this paper was to quantify the relationship between canopy structure (crown depth and crown area) and light interception (LI) in a Salix matsudana stand under three different stand densities in a flood plain of Zhangye.Methods Our study site is located at the Heihe flood plain of Xichengyi in Ganzhou district, Zhangye City, Gansu Province in the middle Heihe River, where S. matsudana is the dominant species. Based on stand density (10 m × 10 m), the S. matsudana community is divided into three types: low density (I, 25-36 Ind.·plot-1), medium density (II, 37-48 Ind.·plot-1), and high density (III, 49-60 Ind.·plot-1). Community characteristics, soil physical and chemical properties of each type were measured. At each plot, we measured photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), LI, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), transpiration rate (Tr), crown depth, crown area, leaf area index (LAI), twig numbers, twig length, and bifurcation angle. The standardized major axis (SMA) estimation method was used to determine the relationships between LI and canopy structure.Important findings With increasing in stand density, we found that soil moisture increased, and soil electric conductivity decreased, while twig length and crown depth increased, and PAR, twig numbers, bifurcation angle and crown area decreased. LAI and LI, Pn and Tr reached their maximum at the stand of medium density. There was a significant, positive correlation and negative correlation (p < 0.01), respectively, between the LI, crown depth and crown area at low density (I), whereas low significant (p < 0.05) at high density (III), and high significantly positive correlation (p < 0.01) at the medium density (II). S. matsudana has more horizontal branches that reduce LI. Canopy thickness and increased crown area at low density. More vertical distribution of branches at high density, and a more balanced spacial distribution were found at medium density.

Key words: light interception, crown depth, crown area, density, Salix matsudana

Table 1

Biological characteristics of Salix matsudana population (mean ± SE) at three stands of variable density"

Density fractions
Density interval (Ind.·plot-1)
Number of plots
Height (cm)
Diameter at breast height (cm)
Crown density (%)
低密度 Low density (I) 25-36 26 398.57 ± 20.63c 13.06 ± 0.61a 42.84 ± 2.72c
中密度 Medium density (II) 37-48 38 454.69 ± 24.05b 10.72 ± 0.58b 69.56 ± 3.93b
高密度 High density (III) 49-60 36 521.23 ± 27.48a 8.64 ± 0.39c 87.09 ± 4.37a

Fig. 1

Canopy structure of Salix matsudana by density (mean ± SE). The lowercase letters indicate significant differences among density (p < 0.05). I, II, III, see Table 1."

Fig. 2

Relationship between light interception and crown depth of Salix matsudana by density. I, II, III, see Table 1."

Fig. 3

Relationship between light interception and crown area of Salix matsudana by density. I, II, III, see Table 1."

Table 2

Soil characteristics and photosynthetic characteristics of Salix matsudana stand by density (mean ± SE)"

密度 Density
土壤质量含水量 Mass moisture of soil (%) 31.56 ± 1.52a 34.83 ± 1.87a 38.47 ± 2.01a
土壤电导率 Soil electric conductivity (ms·cm-1) 7.75 ± 0.41a 4.09 ± 0.21b 2.36 ± 0.13c
光合有效辐射 PAR (μmol·m-2·s-1) 981.26 ± 50.14a 740.51 ± 39.08b 434.67 ± 24.34c
光截获 LI 0.64 ± 0.03c 0.81 ± 0.05a 0.73 ± 0.04b
净光合速率 Pn (μmol·m-2·s-1) 10.27 ± 0.53b 13.69 ± 0.61a 9.26 ± 0.47c
蒸腾速率 Tr (mmol·m-2·s-1) 4.59 ± 0.23c 6.52 ± 0.34a 5.24 ± 0.27b
水分利用率 WUE (μmol·mmol-1) 2.34 ± 0.11a 2.10 ± 0.09b 1.77 ± 0.08c
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