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2015, DOI:10.1111/pce.12556

A physiological and biophysical model of coppice willow (Salix spp.) production yields for the contiguous USA in current and future climate scenarios

Plant, Cell & Environment

Dan Wang, Deepak Jaiswal, David S. Lebauer, Timothy M. Wertin, Germán A. Bollero, Andrew D. B. Leakey, and Stephen P. Long


High-performance computing has facilitated development of biomass production models that capture the key mechanisms underlying production at high spatial and temporal resolution. Direct responses to increasing [CO2] and temperature are important to long-lived emerging woody bioenergy crops. Fast-growing willow (Salix spp.) within short rotation coppice (SRC) has considerable potential as a renewable biomass source, but performance over wider environmental conditions and under climate change is uncertain. We extended the bioenergy crop modeling platform, BioCro, to SRC willow by adding coppicing and C3 photosynthesis subroutines, and modifying subroutines for perennation, allocation, morphology, phenology and development. Parameterization with measurements of leaf photosynthesis, allocation and phenology gave agreement of modeled with measured yield across 23 sites in Europe and North America. Predictions for the continental USA suggest yields of ≥17 Mg ha−1 year−1 in a 4 year rotation. Rising temperature decreased predicted yields, an effect partially ameliorated by rising [CO2]. This model, based on over 100 equations describing the physiological and biophysical mechanisms underlying production, provides a new framework for utilizing mechanism of plant responses to the environment, including future climates. As an open-source tool, it is made available here as a community resource for further application, improvement and adaptation.

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The LongLab is supported by many public and private partnerships, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the UK Government's Department for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

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