Canadian Forest Service Publications

A longer wood growing season does not lead to higher carbon sequestration. 2023. Silvestro, R.; Zhang, Q.; Buttò, V.; Sylvain, J.D.; Drolet, G.; Mencuccini, M.; Thiffault, N.; Yuan, S.; Rossi, S. Scientific Reports volume 13, page 1-12.

Year: 2023

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40943

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-31336-x

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A reliable assessment of forest carbon sequestration depends on our understanding of wood ecophysiology. Within a forest, trees exhibit different timings and rates of growth during wood formation. However, their relationships with wood anatomical traits remain partially unresolved. This study evaluated the intra-annual individual variability in growth traits in balsam fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.]. We collected wood microcores weekly from April to October 2018 from 27 individuals in Quebec (Canada) and prepared anatomical sections to assess wood formation dynamics and their relationships with the anatomical traits of the wood cells. Xylem developed in a time window ranging from 44 to 118 days, producing between 8 and 79 cells. Trees with larger cell production experienced a longer growing season, with an earlier onset and later ending of wood formation. On average, each additional xylem cell lengthened the growing season by 1 day. Earlywood production explained 95% of the variability in xylem production. More productive individuals generated a higher proportion of earlywood and cells with larger sizes. Trees with a longer growing season produced more cells but not more biomass in the wood. Lengthening the growing season driven by climate change may not lead to enhanced carbon sequestration from wood production.