Growth, stress resistance and carbon sequestration under cahnging environmental conditions - POPFACE/EUROFACE

For sequestration of carbon in forests, binding of carbon in persistant organic materials such as lignins and other condensed phenolics plays a central role because these compounds are chemically resistant. In general, the increase in secondary metabolites was higher under low as compared with high nitrogen availability. The concentrations of these metabolites were also affected by light and water. Phenolic plant metabolites were important because they mediate the interaction of plants with their biotic environments serving for examples attractants or repellents to insect. Thus, they regulate the function of a plant inthe food web. Increases in lignin and decreases in nitrogen were expected to ahve important long-term ecosystem consequences, because the rate at which litter decomposes had been related to its initial N-concentration, lignin concentration, C/N ratio and lignin/N ratio. To assess whether growth under elvated [CO2] had significant effects on tissue quality, especially with respect to secondary plant products and stress resistance, we had conducted studies with tabacco, beech and poplar in the past in controlled environmental cabinets. Most results of these studies were published (see Publications). Currently we participate in a field study with a short-rotation poplar plantation grown under free air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE). We analysed carbon and nitrogen sequestration in relation to wood formation, wood anatomical properties and growth. A mechanistic understanding of the underlying processes is required to be able to extrapolate from data obtained in a certain environment ot other conditions.

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The project was funded by the EU and the DFG.