Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 480879
Title No growth stimulation of tropical trees by 150 years of CO2 fertilization but water-use efficiency increased
Author(s) Sleen, J.P. van der; Groenendijk, P.; Vlam, M.; Anten, N.P.R.; Boom, A.; Bongers, F.; Pons, T.L.; Terburg, G.; Zuidema, P.A.
Source Nature Geoscience 8 (2015). - ISSN 1752-0894 - p. 24 - 28.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO2313
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Centre for Crop Systems Analysis
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) rising atmospheric co2 - carbon-dioxide - climate-change - elevated co2 - forest trees - responses - ecosystems - vegetation - feedbacks - lessons
Abstract The biomass of undisturbed tropical forests has likely increased in the past few decades (1, 2), probably as a result of accelerated tree growth. Higher CO2 levels are expected to raise plant photosynthetic rates (3) and enhance water-use efficiency (4), that is, the ratio of carbon assimilation through photosynthesis to water loss through transpiration. However, there is no evidence that these physiological responses do indeed stimulate tree growth in tropical forests. Here we present measurements of stable carbon isotopes and growth rings in the wood of 1,100 trees from Bolivia, Cameroon and Thailand. Measurements of carbon isotope fractions in the wood indicate that intrinsic water-use efficiency in both understorey and canopy trees increased by 30–35% over the past 150 years as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased. However, we found no evidence for the suggested concurrent acceleration of individual tree growth when analysing the width of growth rings. We conclude that the widespread assumption of a CO2-induced stimulation of tropical tree growth may not be valid.
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