Stomatal and surface conductance of tropical rainforest

A. Johannes Dolman, John H.C. Gash, John Roberts, W. James Shuttleworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Although the absolute values of stomatal conductance of tropical rainforest vary greatly, there is some similarity in the response to humidity deficit and radiation. Stomatal conductance decreases downward through the canopy of Amazonian rainforest. Using a multi-layer approach and measured profiles of stomatal conductance and weather variables through the canopy, good agreement can be obtained between calculated and observed values of dry canopy evaporation. The relationship between the biological response of stomata to radiation at the leaf level and the response of surface conductance to radiation above the canopy is derived by relating the profile of stomatal conductance through the canopy to the attenuation of radiation. Simple use of responses derived at leaf level will greatly overestimate surface conductance if used with above-canopy radiation measurements. Three models of surface conductance of the same Amazonian forest, varying in their degree of complexity, were tested against measured evaporation data for the Reserva Ducke forest in Brazil. A simple model with surface conductance varying only with time of day was found to model the observed data slightly better than a more complex environmental model. Using a constant value of surface conductance gave a poorer fit to the data, although the average evaporation can be calculated accurately. It is recommended that the more complex environmental model be used when estimates of evaporation are required under any conditions substantially different from those of the central Amazonian forest where the data were collected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-318
Number of pages16
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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