Impacts of Elevated Carbon Dioxide and Temperature on a Boreal Forest Ecosystem (CLIMEX Project)
To evaluate the effects of climate change on boreal forest ecosystems, both atmospheric CO2 (to 560 ppmv) and air temperature (by 3°–5°C above ambient) were increased at a forested headwater catchment in southern Norway. The entire catchment (860 m2) is enclosed within a transparent greenhouse, and the upper 20% of the catchment area is partitioned such that it receives no climate treatment and serves as an untreated control. Both the control and treatment areas inside the greenhouse receive deacidified rain. Within 3 years, soil nitrogen (N) mineralization has increased and the growing season has been prolonged relative to the control area. This has helped to sustain an increase in plant growth relative to the control and has also promoted increased N export in stream water. Photosynthetic capacity and carbon–nitrogen ratio of new leaves of most plant species did not change. While the ecosystem now loses N, the long-term fate of soil N is a key uncertainty in predicting the future response of boreal ecosystems to climate change.
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