Broad-scale estimates of belowground biomass are needed to understand wetland resiliency and C and N cycling, but these estimates are difficult to obtain because root:shoot ratios vary considerably both within and between species. We used remotely-sensed estimates of two aboveground plant characteristics, aboveground biomass and % foliar N to explore biomass allocation in low diversity freshwater impounded peatlands (Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, CA, USA). We developed a hybrid modeling approach to relate remotely-sensed estimates of % foliar N (a surrogate for environmental N and plant available nutrients) and aboveground biomass to field-measured belowground biomass for species specific and mixed species models. We estimated up to 90% of variation in foliar N concentration using partial least squares (PLS) regression of full-spectrum field spectrometer reflectance data. Landsat 7 reflectance data explained up to 70% of % foliar N and 67% of aboveground biomass. Spectrally estimated foliar N or aboveground biomass had negative relationships with belowground biomass and root:shoot ratio in both Schoenoplectus acutus and Typha, consistent with a balanced growth model, which suggests plants only allocate growth belowground when additional nutrients are necessary to support shoot development. Hybrid models explained up to 76% of variation in belowground biomass and 86% of variation in root:shoot ratio. Our modeling approach provides a method for developing maps of spatial variation in wetland belowground biomass.
|Title||A hybrid model for mapping relative differences in belowground biomass and root: Shoot ratios using spectral reflectance, foliar N and plant biophysical data within coastal marsh|
|Authors||Jessica L. O'Connell, Kristin B. Byrd, Maggi Kelly|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Remote Sensing|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Geographic Science Center|