Plant Ecology pp 401-453 | Cite as

Carbon Relations

  • Ernst-Detlef Schulze
  • Erwin Beck
  • Nina Buchmann
  • Stephan Clemens
  • Klaus Müller-Hohenstein
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen


This chapter deals with the carbon relations of plants, which is a wide and complex field of research ranging from the diffusive flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere into the leaf for photosynthesis up to the allocation of carbon within a plant during growth. Allocation and the use of carbon in the plant determine the plant structure, ranging from herbaceous to woody species. The initial part of this chapter is devoted to the diffusive exchange of gases between the plant and the atmosphere. The plant must balance an inevitable water loss during the process of CO2 uptake. Various processes exist at the biochemical level of carbon reduction that have consequences for water use, and these processes are modified by a wide range of adaptations at the leaf level. In the second part of the chapter, we analyse the flow and the use of carbon within a plant to give an understanding of the evolution of different plant forms, ranging from annual herbaceous species to trees where the balance between carbon requirements for the maintenance of existing plant structures and the carbon requirements for additional growth are the main determinants, as modified by the availability of water and nutrients.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst-Detlef Schulze
    • 1
  • Erwin Beck
    • 2
  • Nina Buchmann
    • 3
  • Stephan Clemens
    • 2
  • Klaus Müller-Hohenstein
    • 4
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen
    • 5
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for BiogeochemistryJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of BiogeographyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.Chair of Geobotany, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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