Leaf fluorescence can be used to track plant development and stress, and is considered the most direct measurement of photosynthetic activity available from remote sensing techniques. Red and far‐red sun‐induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) maps were generated from high spatial resolution images collected with the HyPlant airborne spectrometer over even‐aged loblolly pine plantations in North Carolina (United States). Canopy fluorescence yield (i.e., the fluorescence flux normalized by the light absorbed) in the red and far‐red peaks was computed. This quantifies the fluorescence emission efficiencies that are more directly linked to canopy function compared to SIF radiances. Fluorescence fluxes and yields were investigated in relation to tree age to infer new insights on the potential of those measurements in better describing ecosystem processes. The results showed that red fluorescence yield varies with stand age. Young stands exhibited a nearly twofold higher red fluorescence yield than mature forest plantations, while the far‐red fluorescence yield remained constant. We interpreted this finding in a context of photosynthetic stomatal limitation in aging loblolly pine stands. Current and future satellite missions provide global datasets of SIF at coarse spatial resolution, resulting in intrapixel mixture effects, which could be a confounding factor for fluorescence signal interpretation. To mitigate this effect, we propose a surrogate of the fluorescence yield, namely the Canopy Cover Fluorescence Index (CCFI) that accounts for the spatial variability in canopy structure by exploiting the vegetation fractional cover. It was found that spatial aggregation tended to mask the effective relationships, while the CCFI was still able to maintain this link. This study is a first attempt in interpreting the fluorescence variability in aging forest stands and it may open new perspectives in understanding long‐term forest dynamics in response to future climatic conditions from remote sensing of SIF.
Global Change Biology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
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