A new approach to the validation of modelled forest Net Primary Productivity (NPP), using empirical data on the mean annual increment, or MAI, in above-ground forest stock was presented. The soil-vegetation-atmosphere-transfer model BETHY/DLR is used, with a particular focus on a detailed parameterization of photosynthesis, to estimate the NPP of forest areas in Germany, driven by remote sensing data from VEGETATION, meteorological data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and additional tree coverage information from the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Field (VCF). The output of BETHY/DLR, Gross Primary Productivity (GPP), is converted to NPP by subtracting the cumulative plant maintenance and growth respiration, and then validated against MAI data that was calculated from German forestry inventories. Validation is conducted for 2000 and 2001 by converting modelled NPP to stem volume at a regional level. Our analysis shows that the presented method fills an important gap in methods for validating modelled NPP against empirically derived data. In addition, we examine theoretical energy potentials calculated from the modelled and validated NPP, assuming sustainable forest management and using species-specific tree heating values. Such estimated forest biomass energy potentials play an important role in the sustainable energy debate.
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