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Global change and agro-forest ecosystems: Adaptation and mitigation in a FACE experiment on a poplar plantation

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The objective of this research was to determine the functional responses of a cultivated, agro-forestry system, namely a poplar plantation, to actual and future atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. Hence, this research has combined a fast growing, agro-forestry ecosystem, capable of elevated biomass production, with a large-scale Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) system, one of the few available in the European Union on a forest tree stand. The FACE facility is located close to a natural CO 2 source and is drawing scientists from several European countries, and from other continents, to closely cooperate and combine their scientific efforts on the same experimental system. Furthermore, this FACE apparatus utilizes a novel technology, originally developed by Italian institutions, based on the release into the atmosphere, at sonic velocity, of pure CO 2 instead of an air-CO 2 mixture. The research activities conducted at the POPFACE site, on the responses of the tree plantation to future atmospheric conditions, have integrated observations at the leaf level, such as photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration, with measures carried out at the whole-tree and stand scale, such as canopy architecture, light interception and biomass production. Finally, the ecosystem dimension has also been analysed by studying root productivity and soil processes, host¬†–¬†parasite interactions, and carbon sequestration throughout a rotation cycle of the stand.

Keywords: Global change; agro-forestry ecosystems; ecophysiology; free air carbon enrichment-FACE; net productivity; poplars

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Biology, University of Antwerpen, Wilrijk, Belgium 2: Department of Forest Environment and Resources, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy 3: Institute of Biometeorology, National Research Council, Firenze, Italy 4: Department Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom 5: School of Agricultural & Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, United Kingdom 6: Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands 7: School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom 8: Institute Forstbotanik, Georg August University, Goettingen, Germany

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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