UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Modeling Yields Response to Shading in the Field-to-Forest Transition Zones in Heterogeneous Landscapes Schmidt, Martin; Nendel, Claas; Funk, Roger; Mitchell, Matthew G. E.; Lischeid, Gunnar


In crop modeling and yield predictions, the heterogeneity of agricultural landscapes is usually not accounted for. This heterogeneity often arises from landscape elements like forests, hedges, or single trees and shrubs that cast shadows. Shading from forested areas or shrubs has effects on transpiration, temperature, and soil moisture, all of which affect the crop yield in the adjacent arable land. Transitional gradients of solar irradiance can be described as a function of the distance to the zero line (edge), the cardinal direction, and the height of trees. The magnitude of yield reduction in transition zones is highly influenced by solar irradiance—a factor that is not yet implemented in crop growth models on a landscape level. We present a spatially explicit model for shading caused by forested areas, in agricultural landscapes. With increasing distance to forest, solar irradiance and yield increase. Our model predicts that the shading effect from the forested areas occurs up to 15 m from the forest edge, for the simulated wheat yields, and up to 30 m, for simulated maize. Moreover, we estimated the spatial extent of transition zones, to calculate the regional yield reduction caused by shading of the forest edges, which amounted to 5% to 8% in an exemplary region.

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