Canonical rules for plant organ biomass partitioning and annual allocation

Karl J. Niklas, Brian Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

112 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Here we review a general allometric model for the allometric relationships among standing leaf, stem, and root biomass (ML, MS, and MR, respectively) and the exponents for the relationships among annual leaf, stem, and root biomass production or "growth rates" (GL, GS, and GR, respectively). This model predicts that ML α MS3/4 α MR3/4 such that MS α MR and that GL α GS α GR. A large synoptic data set for standing plant organ biomass and organ biomass production spanning ten orders of magnitude in total plant body mass supports these predictions. Although the numerical values for the allometric "constants" governing these scaling relationships differ between angiosperms and conifers, across all species, standing leaf, stem, and root biomass, respectively, comprise 8%, 67%, and 25% of total plant biomass, whereas annual leaf, stem, and root biomass growth represent 30%, 57%, and 13% of total plant growth. Importantly, our analyses of large data sets confirm the existence of scaling exponents predicted by theory. These scaling "rules" emerge from simple biophysical mechanisms that hold across a remarkably broad spectrum of ecologically and phyletically divergent herbaceous and tree-sized monocot, dicot, and conifer species. As such, they are likely to extend into evolutionary history when tracheophytes with the stereotypical "leaf," "stem," and "root" body plan first appeared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-819
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume89
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint

biomass allocation
plant organs
Biomass
stems
biomass
stem
leaves
Coniferophyta
conifers
biomass production
coniferous tree
Growth
Magnoliopsida
Liliopsida
Angiosperms
Angiospermae
organ
allocation
plant growth
angiosperm

Keywords

  • Allometry
  • Biomass allocation
  • Organ biomass
  • Plant growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Cite this

Canonical rules for plant organ biomass partitioning and annual allocation. / Niklas, Karl J.; Enquist, Brian.

In: American Journal of Botany, Vol. 89, No. 5, 2002, p. 812-819.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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