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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Ecosystem scientists have yet to develop a proven methodology to monitor and understand major disturbance events and their historical regimes at a global scale. This study was conducted to evaluate patterns in an 18-year record of global satellite observations of vegetation phenology from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) as a means to characterize major ecosystem disturbance events and regimes. The fraction absorbed of photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) by vegetation canopies worldwide has been computed at a monthly time interval from 1982 to 1999 and gridded at a spatial resolution of 0.5° latitude/longitude. Potential disturbance events of large extent (〉 0.5 Mha) were identified in the FPAR time series by locating anomalously low values (FPAR-LO) that lasted longer than 12 consecutive months at any 0.5° pixel. We find that nearly 400 Mha of the global land surface could be identified with at least one FPAR-LO event over the 18-year time series. The majority of these potential disturbance events occurred in tropical savanna and shrublands or in boreal forest ecosystem classes. Verification of potential disturbance events from our FPAR-LO analysis was carried out using documented records of the timing of large-scale wildfires at locations throughout the world. Disturbance regimes were further characterized by association analysis with historical climate anomalies. Assuming accuracy of the FPAR satellite record to characterize major ecosystem disturbance events, we estimate that nearly 9 Pg of carbon could have been lost from the terrestrial biosphere to the atmosphere as a result of large-scale ecosystem disturbance over this 18-year time series.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Agricultural activities have greatly altered the global nitrogen (N) cycle and produced nitrogenous gases of environmental significance. More than half of all chemical N fertilizer produced globally is used in crop production in East, Southeast and South Asia, where rice is central to nutrition. Emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO) and ammonia (NH3) from croplands in this region were estimated by considering background emission and emissions resulting from N added to croplands, including chemical N, animal manure, biologically fixed N and N in crop residues returned to fields. Background emission fluxes of N2O and NO from croplands were estimated to be 1.22 and 0.57 kg N ha−1 yr−1, respectively. Separate fertilizer-induced emission factors were estimated for upland fields and rice fields. Total N2O emission from croplands in the study region was estimated to be 1.19 Tg N yr−1, with 43% contributed by background emissions. The average fertilizer-induced N2O emission, however, accounts for only 0.93% of the applied N, which is less than the default IPCC value of 1.25%, because of the low emission factor from paddy fields. Total NO emission was 591 Gg N yr−1 in the study region, with 40% from background emissions. The average fertilizer-induced NO emission factor was 0.48%. Total NH3 emission was estimated to be 11.8 Tg N yr−1. The use of urea and ammonium bicarbonate and the cultivation of rice led to a high average NH3 loss rate from chemical N fertilizer in the study region. Emissions were displayed at a 0.5° × 0.5° resolution with the use of a global landuse database.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: In diverse plant communities the relative contribution of species to community biomass may change considerably in response to elevated CO2. Along with species-specific biomass responses, reproduction is likely to change as well with increasing CO2 and might further accelerate shifts in species composition. Here, we ask if, after 5 years of CO2 exposure, seed production and seed quality in natural nutrient-poor calcareous grassland are affected by elevated CO2 (650 μL L−1 vs 360 μL L−1) and how this might affect long-term community dynamics. The effect of elevated CO2 on the number of flowering shoots (+ 24%, P 〈 0.01) and seeds (+ 29%, P = 0.06) at the community level was similar to above ground biomass responses in this year, suggesting that the overall allocation to sexual reproduction remained unchanged. Compared among functional groups of species we found a 42% increase in seed number (P 〈 0.01) of graminoids, a 33% increase (P = 0.07) in forbs, and no significant change in legumes (− 38%, n.s.) under elevated CO2. Large responses particularly of two graminoid species and smaller responses of many forb species summed up to the significant or marginally significant increase in seed number of graminoids and forbs, respectively. In several species the increase in seed number resulted both from an increase in flowering shoots and an increase in inflorescence size. In most species, seeds tended to be heavier (+ 12%, P 〈 0.01), and N-concentration of seeds was significantly reduced in eight out of 13 species. The fraction of germinating seeds did not differ between seeds produced in ambient and elevated CO2, but time to germination was significantly shortened in two species and prolonged in one species when seeds had been produced in elevated CO2. Results suggest that species specific increases in seed number and changes in seed quality will exert substantial cumulative effects on community composition in the long run.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: A fast growing high density Populus plantation located in central Italy was exposed to elevated carbon dioxide for a period of three years. An elevated CO2 treatment (550 ppm), of 200 ppm over ambient (350 ppm) was provided using a FACE technique. Standing root biomass, fine root turnover and mycorrhizal colonization of the following Populus species was examined: Populus alba L., Populus nigra L., Populus x euramericana Dode (Guinier). Elevated CO2 increased belowground allocation of biomass in all three species examined, standing root biomass increased by 47–76% as a result of FACE treatment. Similarly, fine root biomass present in the soil increased by 35–84%. The FACE treatment resulted in 55% faster fine root turnover in P. alba and a 27% increase in turnover of roots of P. nigra and P. x euramericana. P. alba and P. nigra invested more root biomass into deeper soil horizon under elevated CO2. Response of the mycorrhizal community to elevated CO2 was more varied, the rate of infection increased only in P. alba for both ectomycorrhizal (EM) and arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM). The roots of P. nigra showed greater infection only by AM and the colonization of the root system of P. x euramericana was not affected by FACE treatment. The results suggest that elevated atmospheric CO2 conditions induce greater belowground biomass investment, which could lead to accumulation of assimilated C in the soil profile. This may have implications for C sequestration and must be taken into account when considering long-term C storage in the soil.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: We investigated the extent to which leaf and root respiration (R) differ in their response to short- and long-term changes in temperature in several contrasting plant species (herbs, grasses, shrubs and trees) that differ in inherent relative growth rate (RGR, increase in mass per unit starting mass and time). Two experiments were conducted using hydroponically grown plants. In the long-term (LT) acclimation experiment, 16 species were grown at constant 18, 23 and 28 °C. In the short-term (ST) acclimation experiment, 9 of those species were grown at 25/20 °C (day/night) and then shifted to a 15/10 °C for 7 days. Short-term Q10 values (proportional change in R per 10 °C) and the degree of acclimation to longer-term changes in temperature were compared. The effect of growth temperature on root and leaf soluble sugar and nitrogen concentrations was examined. Light-saturated photosynthesis (Asat) was also measured in the LT acclimation experiment. Our results show that Q10 values and the degree of acclimation are highly variable amongst species and that roots exhibit lower Q10 values than leaves over the 15–25 °C measurement temperature range. Differences in RGR or concentrations of soluble sugars/nitrogen could not account for the inter-specific differences in the Q10 or degree of acclimation. There were no systematic differences in the ability of roots and leaves to acclimate when plants developed under contrasting temperatures (LT acclimation). However, acclimation was greater in both leaves and roots that developed at the growth temperature (LT acclimation) than in pre-existing leaves and roots shifted from one temperature to another (ST acclimation). The balance between leaf R and Asat was maintained in plants grown at different temperatures, regardless of their inherent relative growth rate. We conclude that there is tight coupling between the respiratory acclimation and the temperature under which leaves and roots developed and that acclimation plays an important role in determining the relationship between respiration and photosynthesis.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Two species of eucalypt (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha and E. rossii) were grown under conditions of high temperatures (45 °C, maximum) and high light (1500 μmol m−2 s−1, maximum) at either ambient (350 μL L−1) or elevated (700 μL L−1) CO2 concentrations for 8 weeks. The growth enhancement, in terms of total dry weight, was 41% and 103% for E. macrorhyncha and E. rossii, respectively, when grown in elevated [CO2]. A reduction in specific leaf area and increased concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates were observed for leaves grown in elevated [CO2]. Plants grown in elevated [CO2] had an overall increase in photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate of 27%; however, when measured at the same CO2 concentration a down-regulation of photosynthesis was evident especially for E. macrorhyncha. During the midday period when temperatures and irradiances were maximal, photosynthetic efficiency as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) was lower in E. macrorhyncha than in E. rossii. Furthermore, Fv/Fm was lower in leaves of E. macrorhyncha grown under elevated than under ambient [CO2]. These reductions in Fv/Fm were accompanied by increases in both photochemical (qP) and nonphotochemical quenching (qN and NPQ), and by increases in the concentrations of xanthophyll cycle pigments with an increased proportion of the total xanthophyll cycle pool comprising of antheraxanthin and zeaxanthin. Thus, increased atmospheric [CO2] may enhance photoinhibition when environmental stresses such as high temperatures limit the capacity of a plant to respond with growth to elevated [CO2].
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: The impact of elevated [CO2] on seed germination was studied in different genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana from natural populations. Two generations of seeds were studied: the maternal generation was produced in the greenhouse (present-day conditions), the offspring generation was produced in two chambers where the CO2 concentration was either the present atmospheric concentration (about 350 ppm) or elevated (700 ppm). The seeds were tested for proportion of germinated seeds and mean germination time in both chambers to study the impact of elevated [CO2] during seed production and germination.Elevated [CO2] during maturation of seeds on the mother-plants decreased the proportion of germinated seeds, while elevated [CO2] during germination had no effect on the proportion of germinated seeds. However, when seeds were both produced and germinated under elevated [CO2] (situation expected by the end of next century), germination was slow and low.Moreover, the effect of the [CO2] treatment differs among genotypes of Arabidopsis: there is a strong treatment × genotype interaction. This means that there is ample genetic variance for a selective response modiying the effects of high levels of [CO2] in natural populations of Arabidopsis thaliana. The outcome at the community level will depend on what seeds are available, when they germinate and the resulting competition following germination.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: An archive of satellite and aircraft photographs of the western Sudan showed no longterm (1943–1994) trends in the abundance of trees despite several decades of recent drought in this region. These data extend the extant historical record of vegetation change in the African Sahel, where recent fluctuations in vegetation greenness have been monitored with the NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer since 1980. Despite substantial population turnover, woody vegetation is not yet indicative of the recent climate changes in this region.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Increasing surface levels of UV-B resulting from stratospheric ozone reduction directly affect tropospheric photochemistry. There may also be indirect tropospheric effects due to changes in emission of organic compounds from vegetation. We treated woody and herbaceous isoprene-emitting species in the field with supplemental UV-B simulating 30% ozone depletion. For Quercus gambelii, photosynthesis and isoprene emission were significantly greater in elevated UV-B treatments when expressed on a leaf area basis, but not on a leaf mass basis. Leaves of Mucuna pruriens, however, showed no significant differences in photosynthesis or isoprene emission between treatments, nor when exposed for 45 min to acute high levels of UV-B. Elevated UV-B during growth did not elicit significant isoprene emission from Acer platanoides, a non-emitting species. Other potential UV-B effects, such as changes in leaf area or species composition, which may influence regional isoprene emissions, should be examined.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Atmospheric CO2 concentration is rising and it has been suggested that a portion of the additional carbon is being sequestered in terrestrial vegetation and much of that in below-ground structures. The objective of the present study was to quantify the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on fine root length and distribution with depth with minirhizotrons in an open-top chamber experiment in an oak-palmetto scrub ecosystem at Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA. Observations were made five times over a period of one and a half years in three ambient chambers (350 p.p.m. CO2), three CO2 enriched chambers (700 p.p.m. CO2), and three unchambered plots. Greater root length densities were produced in the elevated CO2 chambers (14.2 mm cm−2) compared to the ambient chambers (8.7 mm cm−2). More roots may presumably lead to more efficient acquisition of resources. Fine root abundance varied significantly with soil depth, and there appeared to be enhanced proliferation of fine roots near the surface (0–12 cm) and at greater depth (49–61 cm) in the elevated CO2 chambers. The vertical root distribution pattern may be a response to availability of nutrients and water. More studies are needed to determine if increased root length under CO2 enriched conditions actually results in greater sequestering of carbon below ground.
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