Canadian Forest Service Publications

Differentiation among effects of nitrogen fertilization treatments on conifer seedlings by foliar reflectance: a comparison of methods. 2000. Moran, J.A.; Mitchell, A.K.; Goodmanson, G.; Stockburger, K.A. Tree Physiology 20: 1113-1120.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5479

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Analysis of reflectance can be used to estimate foliar concentrations of photosynthetic pigments, thus providing information on the physiological status of green plants. We compared several methods of reflectance analysis for the capacity to differentiate among effects of fertilization treatments across different irradiances on seedlings of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm.). Seedlings were grown in two light treatments (0% and 60% shade) and three nitrogen (N) treatments (10, 25 and 100 mg N l-1) for one growing season, after which foliar reflectance of the needles was measured. Five indices were tested: R550 (% reflectance at 550 nm); red edge position; the ratio R698:R760; the structure independent pigment index (SIPI); and the photochemical reflectance index (PRI). Both the light and nutrient treatments significantly affected foliar chlorophyll a and b and carotenoid concentrations.

Among the indices tested, R550, red edge position and R698:R760 ratio were related to chlorophyll concentration, and were significantly affected by both light and N treatments. Both SIPI and PRI were related to chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations. Among these relationships PRI was affected by both treatments, whereas SIPI was sensitive to N treatment but not to light treatment. All five indices were weakly but significantly correlated with growth as measured by dry weight.