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Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 71, Issue 8, pp 831–842 | Cite as

Elevated atmospheric CO2 and humidity delay leaf fall in Betula pendula, but not in Alnus glutinosa or Populus tremula × tremuloides

  • Douglas GodboldEmail author
  • Arvo Tullus
  • Priit Kupper
  • Jaak Sõber
  • Ivika Ostonen
  • Jasmin A. Godbold
  • Martin Lukac
  • Iftekhar U. Ahmed
  • Andrew R. Smith
Original Paper

Abstract

Context

Anthropogenic activity has increased the level of atmospheric CO2, which is driving an increase of global temperatures and associated changes in precipitation patterns. At Northern latitudes, one of the likely consequences of global warming is increased precipitation and air humidity.

Aims

In this work, the effects of both elevated atmospheric CO2 and increased air humidity on trees commonly growing in northern European forests were assessed.

Methods

The work was carried out under field conditions by using Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment (FACE) and Free Air Humidity Manipulation (FAHM) systems. Leaf litter fall was measured over 4 years (FACE) or 5 years (FAHM) to determine the effects of FACE and FAHM on leaf phenology.

Results

Increasing air humidity delayed leaf litter fall in Betula pendula, but not in Populus tremula × tremuloides. Similarly, under elevated atmospheric CO2, leaf litter fall was delayed in B. pendula, but not in Alnus glutinosa. Increased CO2 appeared to interact with periods of low precipitation in summer and high ozone levels during these periods to effect leaf fall.

Conclusions

This work shows that increased CO2 and humidity delay leaf fall, but this effect is species-specific.

Keywords

Climate change Free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) Free air humidity manipulation Leaf fall Ozone 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The FAHM study was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Estonia (grant SF SF0180025s12) and by the EU through the European Social Fund (Mobilitas postdoctoral grant MJD 257) and the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence ENVIRON) and Project no. 3.2.0802.11-0043 (BioAtmos). The development of BangorFACE site infrastructure was funded by SRIF. We thank the Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities Partnership Centre for Integrated Research in the Rural Environment and the Forestry Commission Wales for financially supporting the running costs of the experiment. Andrew Smith was supported by the Sir Williams Roberts PhD Scholarship match funded by the Drapers’ Company.

Supplementary material

13595_2014_382_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (169 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 169 kb)

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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Godbold
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arvo Tullus
    • 2
  • Priit Kupper
    • 2
  • Jaak Sõber
    • 2
  • Ivika Ostonen
    • 3
  • Jasmin A. Godbold
    • 4
  • Martin Lukac
    • 5
  • Iftekhar U. Ahmed
    • 1
  • Andrew R. Smith
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of Forest Ecology, Universität für Bodenkultur (BOKU)ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Institute of Ecology and Earth SciencesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  3. 3.Department of Geography, Institute of Ecology and Earth SciencesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  4. 4.School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, SouthamptonUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  5. 5.School of Agriculture, Policy and DevelopmentUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  6. 6.School of Environment, Natural Resources and GeographyBangor UniversityGwyneddUK

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