Hierarchy, modularity and summary models

In forest management and modelling, a shift of emphasis has occurred from productivity in homogeneous canopies towards, e.

g., wood quality versus total yield, spatially more explicit models, and growth decline in old-growth forests. These new problems emphasize the hierarchy of the system and inter-scale interactions. These can be constructively dealt with using a hierarchical-modular approach.

The core of the stand growth models developed by the group are models of individual tree growth throughout the rotation. At this scale, model performance requires (i) realistic long-term dynamic properties, (ii) realistic responses of growth and mortality of competing individuals, and (iii) realistic responses to eco-physiological inputs. The models developed by the group are based on carbon acquisition and allocation, combined with ideas of mutual competition through tree-to-tree interactions. In this approach, finer scale effects are embedded in parameters calculated using more detailed, interacting modules. These include, e.g., (i) the within-year effects of weather on metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis and transpiration (ii) the effects of fast soil processes on nutrient availability, carbon allocation and photosynthesis, and (iii) the utilization of detailed stem structure to predict wood quality.


Minunno F., Peltoniemi M., Härkönen S., Kalliokoski T., Mäkinen H., Mäkelä A. 2019. Bayesian calibration of a carbon balance model PREBAS using data from permanent growth experiments and national forest inventory. Forest Ecology and Management 440: 208-257.

Mäkelä A., Pulkkinen M., Mäkinen H. 2016. Bridging empirical and carbon-balance based forest site productivity - significance of below-ground allocation. Forest Ecology and Management 372:64-77.

Härkönen S., Pulkkinen M., Duursma R.A., Mäkelä A. 2010. Estimating annual GPP, NPP and stem growth in Finland using summary models. For. Ecol. Manage. 259: 524-533.

Mäkipää R., Linkosalo T., Niinimäki S., Komarov A., Bykhovets S., Tahvonen O. and Mäkelä A. 2010. How forest management and climate change affect the carbon sequestration of a Norway spruce stand. Journal of Forest Planning.

Duursma, R.A. and Mäkelä A. 2007. Summary models for irradiance interception and photosynthesis of non-homogeneous canopies. Tree Physiology 27:859-870

Kokkila, T., Mäkelä, A. and Franc, A. 2006. Comparison of distance dependent and distance independent stand growth models – is perfect aggregation possible? Forest Science 52: 623-635

Valentine H.T. and Mäkelä A 2005. Bridging process-based and empirical approaches to modeling tree growth. Tree Physiology 25:769–779

Mäkelä, A. 2003. Process-based modelling of tree and stand growth: towards a hierarchical treatment of multi-scale processes. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:398-409