, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 9–20 | Cite as

Physiological Impacts of Elevated CO2 Concentration Ranging from Molecular to Whole Plant Responses

  • O. UrbanEmail author


The dynamics of the terrestrial ecosystems depend on interactions between a number of biogeochemical cycles (i.e. carbon, nutrient, and hydrological cycles) that may be modified by human actions. Conversely, terrestrial ecosystems are important components of these cycles that create the sources and sinks of important greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide). Especially, carbon is exchanged naturally among these ecosystems and the atmosphere through photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, and combustion processes. Continuous increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has led to extensive research over the last two decades, during which more then 1 400 scientific papers describing impacts of elevated [CO2] (EC) on photosynthesis have been published. However, the degree of response is very variable, depending on species, growing conditions, mineral nutrition, and duration of CO2 enrichment. In this review, I have summarised the major physiological responses of plants, in particular of trees, to EC including molecular and primary, especially photosynthetic, physiological responses. Likewise, secondary (photosynthate translocation and plant water status) and tertiary whole plant responses including also plant to plant competition are shown.

acclimation to [CO2carbon allocation global change growth photorespiration photosynthesis respiration stomatal conductance tree physiology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecological Physiology of Forest TreesInstitute of Landscape Ecology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic

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