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Vegetatio

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 17–31 | Cite as

Free air carbon dioxide enrichment: development, progress, results

  • G. R. Hendrey
  • K. F. Lewin
  • J. Nagy
Methodology

Abstract

Credible predictions of climate change depend in part on predictions of future CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Terrestrial plants are a large sink for atmospheric CO2 and the sink rate is influenced by the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Reliable field experiments are needed to evaluate how terrestrial plants will adjust to increasing CO2 and thereby influence the rate of change of atmospheric CO2. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) has developed a unique Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) system for a cooperative research program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, currently operating as the FACE User Facility at the Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) of the University of Arizona. The BNL FACE system is a tool for studying the effects of CO2 enrichment on vegetation and natural ecosystems, and the exchange of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere, in open-air settings without any containment. The FACE system provides stable control of CO2 at 550 ppm ±10%, based on 1-min averages, over 90% of the time. In 1990, this level of control was achieved over an area as large as 380 m2, at an annual operating cost of $668 m−2. During two field seasons of enrichment with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) as the test plant, enrichment to 550 ppm CO2 resulted in significant increases in photosynthesis and biomass of leaves, stems and roots, reduced evapotranspiration, and changes in root morphology. In addition, soil respiration increased and evapotranspiration decreased.

Keywords

Free-air enrichment Carbon dioxide FACE Global change Plant response Cotton 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Hendrey
    • 1
  • K. F. Lewin
    • 1
  • J. Nagy
    • 1
  1. 1.Biosystems and Process Sciences DivisionBrookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA

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