Canadian Forest Service Publications

Scaling ozone responses of forest trees to the ecosystem level in a changing climate. 2005. Karnosky, D.F.; Pregitzer, K.; Zak, D.R.; Kubiske, M.E.; Hendrey, G.R.; Weinstein, D.; Nosal, M.; Percy, K.E. Plant, Cell and Environment 28: 965-981.

Year: 2005

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 25515

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free)

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Abstract

Many uncertainties remain regarding how climate change will alter the structure and function of forest ecosystems. At the Aspen FACE experiment in northern Wisconsin, we are attempting to understand how an aspen/birch/maple forest ecosystem responds to long-term exposure to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3), alone and in combination, from establishment onward. We examine how O3 affects the flow of carbon through the ecosystem from the leaf level through to the roots and into the soil micro-organisms in present and future atmospheric CO2 conditions. We provide evidence of adverse effects of O3, with or without co-occurring elevated CO2, that cascade through the entire ecosystem impacting complex trophic interactions and food webs on all three species in the study: trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.). Interestingly, the negative effect of O3 on the growth of sugar maple did not become evident until 3 years into the study. The negative effect of O3 was most noticeable on paper birch trees growing under elevated CO2. Our results demonstrate the importance of long-term studies to detect subtle effects of atmospheric change and of the need for studies of interacting stresses whose responses could not be predicted by studies of single factors. In biologically complex forest ecosystems, effects at one scale can be very different from those at another scale. For scaling purposes, then, linking process with canopy level models is essential if O3 impacts are to be accurately predicted. Finally, we describe how outputs from our long-term multispecies Aspen FACE experiment are being used to develop simple, coupled models to estimate productivity gain/loss from changing O3.