The allocation of carbon (C) is an important component of tree physiology that influences growth and ecosystem C storage. Allocation is challenging to measure, and its sensitivity to environmental changes such as warming and altered water availability is uncertain. We exposed young Eucalyptus tereticornis trees to +3°C warming and elimination of summer precipitation in the field using whole-tree chambers. We calculated C allocation terms using detailed measurements of growth and continuous whole-crown CO 2 and water exchange measurements. Trees grew from small saplings to nearly 9 m height during this 15-month experiment. Warming accelerated growth and leaf area development, and it increased the partitioning of gross primary production (GPP) to aboveground respiration and growth while decreasing partitioning below ground. Eliminating summer precipitation reduced C gain and growth but did not impact GPP partitioning. Trees utilized deep soil water and avoided strongly negative water potentials. Warming increased growth respiration, but maintenance respiration acclimated homeostatically. The increasing growth in the warmed treatment resulted in higher rates of respiration, even with complete acclimation of maintenance respiration. Warming-induced stimulations of tree growth likely involve increased C allocation above ground, particularly to leaf area development, whereas reduced water availability may not stimulate allocation to roots.
- climate change
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't