Evidence of arithmetical uncertainty in estimation of light and water use effciency

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It was demonstrated that conventional resource use effciency (RUE) estimation methodology is largely subject to arithmetic weakness. Extensive field research data on aboveground biomass (AGB), absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR), and crop evapotranspiration (ETc) in maize, soybean, sorghum, and winter wheat confirmed this methodological bias for light use effciency (LUE) and water use effciency (WUE) estimation. LUE and WUE were derived using cumulated (data aggregates across samplings) and independent (data increments across samplings) approaches. Use of cumulated data yielded strong-but-false correlation between AGB and APAR or ETc, being a statistical artefact. RUE values from an independent approach were substantially lower than that from a cumulated approach with greater standard errors. Overall, a cumulated approach tends to oversimplify the complex interactions among carbon and resource coupling in agroecosystems, which is accurately represented when employing an independent approach instead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2271
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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