, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 393–402

The effect of long term CO2 enrichment on the growth, biomass partitioning and mineral nutrition of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.)

  • M. B. Murray
  • I. D. Leith
  • P. G. Jarvis
Original Article


Sitka spruce [Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.] seedlings were grown for 3 years in an outside control plot or in ambient (∼355 μmol mol-1) or elevated (ambient + 350 μmol mol-1) atmospheric CO2 environments, within open top chambers (OTCs) at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Edinburgh. Sequential harvests were carried out at the end of each growing season and throughout the 1991 growing season, five in all. Plants grown in elevated CO2 had, (i) 35 and 10% larger root/shoot ratios at the end of the first and third season, respectively, (ii) significantly higher summer leader extension relative growth rates, which declined more rapidly in early autumn than ambient grown plants, (iii) after three growing seasons a significantly increased mean annual relative growth rate, (iv) consistently lower foliar nutrient concentrations, and (v) after two growing seasons smaller total projected needle areas. Plants grown inside OTCs were taller, heavier and had a smaller root/shoot ratio than those grown outside the chambers. There was no effect of CO2 concentration on Sitka spruce leaf characteristics, although leaf area ratio, specific leaf area and leaf weight ratio all fell throughout the course of the 3 year experiment.

Key words

Elevated CO2 Sitka spruce Growth Allocation Nutrients 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. B. Murray
    • 1
  • I. D. Leith
    • 1
  • P. G. Jarvis
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Terrestrial EcologyPenicuikUK
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and Resource Management,University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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