Canadian Forest Service Publications

Stem biomass, C and N partitioning and growth efficiency of mature pedigreed black spruce on both a wet and a dry site. 2013. Major, J.E.; Johnsen, K.H.; Barsi, D.C.; Campbell, M.; Malcolm, J.W. Forest Ecology and Management 310: 495–507.

Year: 2013

Available from: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35121

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.08.019

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Abstract

Worldwide, efforts to manage atmospheric CO2 are being explored both by reducing emissions and by sequestering more carbon (C). Stem biomass, C, and nitrogen (N) parameters were measured in plots of first-generation (F1), 32-year-old black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) from four full-sib families studied previously for drought tolerance and differential productivity on both a dry and a wet site in central Ontario, Canada. The wet site had greater stem wood N and bark N concentrations than the dry site. Site differences in N were most likely driven by soil moisture stress impairing N uptake, as soil N was equal at both sites. Drought-tolerant (faster growing) families had lower wood density than drought-intolerant families on the wet site but there were no wood density differences between families on the dry site. Allometric analysis showed greater total stem dry mass per unit total belowground dry mass for drought-tolerant than intolerant families and for wet than dry sites, indicating a differential allocation of photosynthate dependent on both genotype and environment. Allometric analysis also showed greater total stem dry mass per unit total needle dry mass (growth efficiency) for drought-tolerant than intolerant families and for the wet than the dry site. This indicates greater productivity is a result of greater growth efficiency caused by greater net photosynthesis (shown previously) and greater partitioning of biomass to stem relative to total roots. The variation in physiological processes documented in our previous investigations and the biomass allocation variation shown here most probably underlie the increase in stem productivity from both black spruce tree improvement programs and increased water availability.

Plain Language Summary

Worldwide, efforts to manage atmospheric carbon dioxide are being explored by both reducing emissions and sequestering more carbon (C). Do tree improvement, drought tolerance selection, or soil moisture deficit result in an increase and/or reallocation of resources? Above- and below-ground biomass, C, and N concentrations were all empirically measured on half-rotation age black spruce trees on both a dry and a wet site. Total stem dry mass per unit total belowground dry mass was greater for drought-tolerant than intolerant families, and for wet than dry sites. Drought-tolerant families and wet sites also had greater total stem dry mass per unit total needle dry mass (growth efficiency). This indicates greater productivity is a result of greater growth efficiency caused by greater net photosynthesis (shown previously) and greater partitioning of biomass to stem than to total roots. The variation in net photosynthesis documented in our previous 3-year campaign (confirmed with C isotope discrimination) and the biomass allocation shown here, most probably underlie the increase in stem productivity from black spruce tree improvement and increased water availability.

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