New findings provide mechanistic insights into the seasonality of evergreen forests

Postdoctoral researcher Bijan Seyednasrollah is the lead author on a new paper published in New Phytologist this week based on a project that emerged from the IMGG (It Might Get Green) Workshop held in Flagstaff in May 2019.
The team integrated several environmental datasets and field and camera observations to shed new light on the seasonality of northern evergreen forests. The group showed that seasonal changes in canopy color occur independently of new leaf production, but track changes in chlorophyll fluorescence, the photochemical reflectance index, and leaf pigmentation. They demonstrated that at winter‐dormant sites, seasonal changes in canopy color can be used to predict the onset of canopy‐level photosynthesis in spring, and its cessation in autumn. Finally, they parameterized a simple temperature‐based model to predict the seasonal cycle of canopy greenness, and we show that the model successfully simulates interannual variation in the timing of changes in canopy color. Their results provide mechanistic insight into the factors driving seasonal changes in evergreen canopy color and provide opportunities to monitor and model seasonal variation in photosynthetic activity using color‐based vegetation indices.