Original Paper


, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1703-1712

First online:

Branch cuvettes as means of ozone risk assessment in adult forest tree crowns: combining experimental and modelling capacities

  • Gerhard WieserAffiliated withDivision of Alpine Timberline Ecophysiology, Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape Email author 
  • , Rainer MatyssekAffiliated withEcophysiology of Plants, Technische Universität München
  • , Bernhard GötzAffiliated withUniversity of Applied Sciences, Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (FH)
  • , Ludger GrünhageAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Ecology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen

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The branch autonomy principle has been referred to extensively for using branch cuvettes as a technique of studying ozone (O3) effects within the canopy of adult forest trees. However, this principle may not hold in general regarding biochemical interactions between O3-impacted branches exposed inside cuvettes and neighbouring crown parts under the unchanged ambient O3 regime. After reviewing relevant cuvette studies conducted to date, we will provide evidence that cuvette-exposed branches may serve, given awareness of outlined pre-requisites and restrictions, as surrogates for examining the crown-level response of trees to elevated O3 regimes. Such a conclusion is based on the defence metabolism of branches, which seems to be autonomous to some extent from neighbouring crown sections. Cuvette studies may, therefore, be used to derive dose response functions as measures of O3 sensitivity. On such grounds, also validation and improvement of stomatal O3 uptake modelling becomes feasible. The branch-level approach, however, does not substitute whole-tree free-air O3 fumigation and related flux assessments, as branches in view of representativeness and boundary layer characteristics represent one stage in scaling O3 flux between leaf and tree level. Branch level-based flux scaling should be backed, therefore, by independent trunk sap-flow assessment techniques that offer derivation of FO3 at the whole-tree level.


Ozone Branch cuvettes Branch autonomy Risk assessment Model validation