Responses of sugar maple and hemlock seedlings to elevated carbon dioxide under altered above- and belowground nitrogen sources

TitleResponses of sugar maple and hemlock seedlings to elevated carbon dioxide under altered above- and belowground nitrogen sources
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsEller ASarah Dust, McGuire K.L, Sparks JP
JournalTree Physiology
Volume31
Issue4
Pagination11 pp.
KeywordsTSUGA
Abstract

Various human-induced changes to the atmosphere have caused carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrate deposition (NO3−) to increase in many regions of the world. The goal of this study was to examine the simultaneous influence of these three factors on tree seedlings. We used open-top chambers to fumigate sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) with ambient or elevated CO2 and NO2 (elevated concentrations were 760 ppm and 40 ppb, respectively). In addition, we applied an artificial wet deposition of 30 kg ha−1 year−1 NO3− to half of the open-top chambers. After two growing seasons, hemlocks showed a stimulation of growth under elevated CO2, but the addition of elevated NO2 or NO3− eliminated this effect. In contrast, sugar maple seedlings showed no growth enhancement under elevated CO2 alone and decreased growth in the presence of NO2 or NO3−, and the combined treatments of elevated CO2 with increased NO2 or NO3− were similar to control plants. Elevated CO2 induced changes in the leaf characteristics of both species, including decreased specific leaf area, decreased %N and increased C:N. The effects of elevated CO2, NO2 and NO3− on growth were not additive and treatments that singly had no effect often modified the effects of other treatments. The growth of both maple and hemlock seedlings under the full combination of treatments (CO2 + NO2 + NO3−) was similar to that of seedlings grown under control conditions, suggesting that models predicting increased seedling growth under future atmospheric conditions may be overestimating the growth and carbon storage potential of young trees.

DOI10.1093/treephys/tpr014