Submitted to: Technical Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/5/2000
Publication Date: 11/5/2000
Citation: Rogers, H.H., Runion, G.B., Mitchell, R.J., Prior, S.A., Amthor, J.S., and Wilson, M. 2000. Response of southeastern forest species to elevated atmospheric CO2: Pathology and related biotic interactions above and below the ground. Final Technical Report, Southeast Regional Center - National Institute for Global Environmental Change. Environmental Institute Publication Number 75. The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, 47 pp. Interpretive Summary: Understanding the influence of the rise in global atmospheric CO2 on the structure and function of forest ecosystems is particularly important due to the long-lived nature of trees and their economic value; forests of the Southeastern United States provide raw materials for a multi-billion dollar per year industry. This work represents the first effort to assess the effect of rising CO2 concentration (with multiple resource limitations) on longleaf pine, a pivotal species in Southeastern forests, ecologically and commercially.
Technical Abstract: Longleaf pine is a desirable species when considering predicted climate changes; it is adapted to xeric, infertile sites and is resistant to diseases, insects, and fire. These experiments demonstrate that longleaf pine has the potential to respond positively to higher atmospheric CO2; however, this response will be governed by soil resource availability. This research further indicates that soil resources differ in their interaction with atmospheric CO2; i.e., soil nitrogen moderates the CO2 response, while CO2 may moderate drought response. Given that the greatest biomass increase due to CO2 enrichment was in roots, longleaf pine may possess the ability to garner more essential soil resources, which could contribute to a positive response to CO2. These data suggest that longleaf pine could flourish under predicted future climatic conditions, providing hope for the many endangered species that inhabit longleaf communities.