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Tree Physiol. 1996 Jan-Feb;16(1_2):125-130.

Stem maintenance and construction respiration in Pinus ponderosa grown in different concentrations of atmospheric CO(2).

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Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


To determine whether long-term growth in enriched CO(2) atmospheres changes the woody tissue respiration component of aboveground carbon budgets, we measured woody tissue respiration of stems of 3-year-old ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws.) grown in ambient (350 ppm) or twice ambient (700 ppm) atmospheric CO(2) concentrations in open-top field chambers located in Placerville, CA. Total respiration rate was measured by gas exchange, and construction respiration was calculated from the construction cost, percent carbon of stem samples and relative growth rate. Maintenance respiration was determined as the difference between total and construction respiration. The Q(10) of respiration was greater in stems grown in elevated CO(2) than in stems grown in ambient CO(2) (2.20 versus 1.67). As a result, mean daily respiration per unit volume of wood modeled for the month of September was greater in trees growing in elevated CO(2) than in ambient CO(2) (46.75 versus 40.45 mol m(-3) day(-1)). These effects of atmospheric CO(2) concentration were not the result of differences in relative growth rate. Calorimetric analyses of woody tissue construction cost indicated no difference between treatments; however, trees in the elevated CO(2) treatment showed a 1% lower carbon concentration than trees in the ambient CO(2) treatment. Estimates of construction respiration did not differ between treatments, confirming that the treatment differences in mean daily respiration rate were attributable to the maintenance component. Under future predicted atmospheric conditions, changes in the maintenance respiration of woody tissue may lead to an increase in the respiration component of whole-plant carbon budgets of ponderosa pine. Our results suggest that potential increases in the maintenance component of stem respiration should be considered when modeling the response of forest stand growth to enriched CO(2) atmospheres.

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