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Environ Pollut. 1998;101(2):263-74.

Growth, respiration and nitrogen content in needles of Scots pine exposed to elevated ozone and carbon dioxide in the field.

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Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, PO Box 111, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland.


Single Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees, aged 30 years, were grown in open-top chambers and exposed to two atmospheric concentrations of ozone (O3; ambient and elevation) and carbon dioxide (CO2) as single variables or in combination for 3 years (1994-1996). Needle growth, respiration and nitrogen content were measured simultaneously over the period of needle expansion. Compared to ambient treatment (33 nmol mol(-1) O3 and 350 micromol mol(-1) CO2) doubled ambient O3 (69 nmol mol(-1)) significantly reduced the specific growth rates (SGRs) of the needles in the early stage of needle expansion and needle nitrogen concentration (N1) in the late stage, but increased apparent respiration rates (ARRs) in the late stage. Doubled ambient CO2 (about 650 micromol mol(-1)) significantly increased maximum SGR but reduced ARR and N1 in the late stage of needle expansion. The changes in ARR induced by the different treatments may be associated with treatment-induced changes in needle growth, metabolic activities and turnover of nitrogenous compounds. When ARR was partitioned into its two functional components, growth and maintenance respiration, the results showed that neither doubled ambient O3 nor doubled ambient CO2 influenced the growth respiration coefficients (Rg). However, doubled ambient O3 significantly increased the maintenance respiration coefficients (Rm) regardless of the needle development stage, while doubled ambient CO2 significantly reduced Rm only in the late stage of needle expansion. The increase in Rm under doubled ambient O3 conditions appeared to be related to an increase in metabolic activities, whereas the decrease in Rm under doubled ambient CO2 conditions may be attributed to the reduced N1 and turnover rate of nitrogenous compounds per unit. The combination of elevated O3 and CO2 had very similar effects on growth, respiration and N1 to doubled ambient O3 alone, but the interactive mechanism of the two gases is still not clear.

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