In order to study the effect of light competition and microclimatic modifications on the net assimilation (NA), growth and yield of soybean (Glycine max L.) as an understory crop, three 26-year-old soybean-tree (Acer saccharinum Marsh., Populus deltoides X nigra, Juglans nigra L.) intercropping systems were examined. Tree competition reduced photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) incident on soybeans and reduced net assimilation, growth and yield of soybean. Soil moisture of 20 cm depth close (< 3 m) to the tree rows was also reduced. Correlation analysis showed that NA and soil water content were highly correlated with growth and yield of soybean. When compared with the monoculture soybean system, the relative humidity (RH) of the poplar-soybean, silver maple-soybean, and black walnutsoybean intercropped systems was increased by 7.1%, 8.0% and 5.9%, soil water content was reduced by 37.8%, 26.3% and 30.9%, ambient temperature was reduced by 1.3°C, 1.4° C and 1.0° C, PAR was reduced by 53.6%, 57.9% and 39.9%, and air CO<inf>2</inf> concentration was reduced by 3.7μmol·mol<sup>-1</sup>, 4.2μmol·mol<sup>-1</sup> and 2.8μmol·mol<sup>-1</sup>, respectively. Compared to the monoculture, the average NA of soybean in poplar, maple and walnut treatments was also reduced by 53.1%, 67.5% and 46.5%, respectively. Multivariate stepwise regression analysis showed that PAR, ambient temperature and CO<inf>2</inf> concentration were the dominant factors influencing net photosynthetic rate.
Peng, X., Thevathasan, N. V., Gordon, A. M., Mohammed, I., & Gao, P. (2015). Photosynthetic response of soybean to microclimate in 26-year-old tree-based intercropping systems in southern Ontario, Canada. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129467