Elevated [CO2] and forest vegetation: more a water issue than a carbon issue?

Holtum, Joseph A.M., and Winter, Klaus (2010) Elevated [CO2] and forest vegetation: more a water issue than a carbon issue? Functional Plant Biology, 37 (8). pp. 694-702.

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Abstract

Studies of responses of forest vegetation to steadily increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have focussed strongly on the potential of trees to absorb extra carbon; the effects of elevated [CO2] on plant–soil water relations via decreased stomatal conductance and increased ambient temperature have received less attention, but may be significant in the long term at the ecosystem level. CO2 augmentation experiments with young trees demonstrate small increases in aboveground carbon content, but these increases tend to diminish as trees get older. By contrast, several experiments suggest continued decreases in transpiration and increased soil water content under these conditions. In tropical forests, the major cause of increases in aboveground biomass observed in the recent past is not necessarily elevated [CO2]. Undoubtedly, the potential of monitoring trees in forest dynamics plots to deduce CO2-specific alterations in forest structure and standing biomass will unfold in the decades to come. The comprehensive understanding of responses of forest vegetation to elevated [CO2] in the Anthropocene will depend upon the inclusion of detailed measurements of soil water pools and water fluxes through the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum in future tree CO2 augmentation experiments and forest dynamics plot studies.

Item ID: 15161
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: climate change, carbon sequestration, evapotranspiration, FACE (free air CO2 enrichment), water use efficiency
ISSN: 1445-4416
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2011 22:57
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 17
Downloads: Total: 5
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