The effect of a dry spring on seasonal carbon allocation and vegetation dynamics in a poplar bioenergy plantation
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Engineering sciences. Technology
GCB bioenergy. - Oxford, 2009, currens
, p. 473-487
University of Antwerp
In this study the seasonal variation in carbon, water and energy fluxes as well as in net primary productivity (NPP) of different tree components is presented for a 2-year-old poplar (Populus spp.) plantation. A thorough ecophysiological study was performed at ecosystem scale, at tree and at leaf level, in this high-density bioenergy plantation. Seasonal variation in NPP and fluxes was analysed in relation to meteorological parameters at the field site. The growing season length in terms of carbon uptake was controlled by leaf area development until the maximum leaf area index (LAImax) was reached. Afterwards, a shift to belowground carbon allocation was observed. A dry period in spring caused a reduced leaf area production as well as a decrease in net ecosystem exchange and gross primary production (GPP) due to stomatal closure. Water use efficiency and fine root growth increased in response to limiting soil water availability in the root zone. When soil water availability was not limiting, GPP was controlled by a decrease in solar radiation and air temperature. The results of this study indicate that the productivity of recently established bioenergy plantations with fast-growing trees is very sensitive to drought. The interaction between soil water availability and factors controlling ecosystem GPP is crucial in assessing the CO2 mitigation potential under future climate conditions.