Simulating Crop Growth and Development Using Functional-Structural Plant Modeling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Crop canopies are composed of individual plants. Yet, in the analysis of crop
characteristics such as canopy photosynthesis, growth and performance, plants are normally not considered as individual entities with their own developmental pattern and plastic responses to their environment. Therefore, in research questions that implicitly or explicitly contain aspects of individual plant development, modelling tools that scale up processes at the level of the plant to the level of the canopy can be used. In this chapter, the functional-structural plant (FSP) modelling approach will be introduced. FSP modelling provides the possibilities to simulate individual plants in a stand setting, and their architecture
in 3D over time. It can take into account light interception and scattering at the level of the leaf as a function of leaf size, angle and optical properties, and use this information to determine photosynthesis, photomorphogenesis, and overall plant growth and development. Therefore, FSP modelling can be used to translate individual plant behaviour to whole canopy performance while taking into account phenotypic variation between individuals and plastic responses to local conditions, as well as the consequences of active manipulation of plant architecture such as pruning or herbivory.
This chapter will treat the underlying principles of FSP modelling as well as the
calibration and validation of such models. It will subsequently describe how the interaction between light and a canopy composed of individual plants with their own architecture can be simulated, and how the feedback of photosynthesis, carbon allocation and growth as well as photomorphogenetic processes on light capture can be included.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCanopy Photosynthesis
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basics to Applications
EditorsKouki Hikosaka, Ulo Niinemets, Niels P.R. Anten
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)9789401772914
ISBN (Print)9789401772907
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Photosynthesis and Respiration
ISSN (Print)1572-0233
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0102


  • Plant architecture
  • Simulation
  • Leaf photosynthesis
  • Sink strength
  • Crop performance

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