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Tree Physiol. 2003 Jan;23(1):13-21.

Sapwood development in Pinus radiata trees grown for three years at ambient and elevated carbon dioxide partial pressures.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia. batwell@rna.bio.mq.edu.au


Clonal trees of Pinus radiata D. Don were grown in open-top chambers at a field site in New Zealand for 3 years at ambient (37 Pa) or elevated (65 Pa) carbon dioxide (CO2) partial pressure. Nitrogen (N) was supplied to half of the trees in each CO2 treatment, at 15 g N m-2 in the first year and 60 g N m-2 in the subsequent 2 years (high-N treatment). Trees in the low-N treatment were not supplied with N but received the same amount of other nutrients as trees in the high-N treatment. In the first year, stem basal area increased more in trees growing at elevated CO2 partial pressure and high-N supply than in control trees, suggesting a positive interaction between these resources. However, the relative rate of growth became the same across trees in all treatments after 450 days, resulting in trees growing at elevated CO2 partial pressure and high-N supply having larger basal areas than trees in the other treatments. Sapwood N content per unit dry mass was consistently about 0.09% in all treatments, indicating that N status was not suppressed by elevated CO2 partial pressure. Thus, during the first year of growth, an elevated CO2 partial pressure enhanced carbon (C) and N storage in woody stems, but there was no further stimulus to C and N deposition after the first year. The chemical composition of sapwood was unaffected by elevated CO2 partial pressure, indicating that no additional C was sequestered through lignification. However, independent of the treatments, early wood was 13% richer in lignin than late wood. Elevated CO2 partial pressure decreased the proportion of sapwood occupied by the lumina of tracheids by up to 12%, indicating increased sapwood density in response to CO2 enrichment. This effect was probably a result of thicker tracheid walls rather than narrower lumina.

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