Radiation-use efficiency (RUE) relates biomass production to the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) intercepted by a plant or crop. We determined RUE and biomass partitioning coefficients of young olive (Olea europaea) trees for use in a general growth model. In 1995, 1-year-old olive trees var. 'Picual' were planted at a density of either 0.5 or 2.0 trees m(-2) near Córdoba, Spain, at a site providing favorable growth conditions. During the experiment (1995-1997), both PAR interception by the canopy and plant area index (PAI) were measured with radiation sensors. Regular harvests were performed to determine leaf area and biomass accumulation in roots, wood (stem, branches and trunk) and leaves. Leaf, wood and root biomass partitioning coefficients were calculated. The leaf area partitioning coefficients were also estimated. Dry matter production was linearly related to cumulative intercepted PAR. Seasonal RUE, calculated as the slope of the regression of aboveground biomass and cumulative intercepted PAR, was 1.35 g (MJ PAR)(-1). Radiation-use efficiency appeared to respond to environmental conditions, but was independent of planting density and PAI. The young olive trees allocated 0.26 of their total biomass to roots. Partitioning of aboveground dry matter was 0.60 to wood and 0.37 to leaves. As competition increased, dry matter partitioning to wood increased to 0.70.
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