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Introduction to the invited issue on carbon allocation of trees and forests

Epron, Daniel; Nouvellon, Yann; Ryan, Michael G. 2012. Introduction to the invited issue on carbon allocation of trees and forests. Tree Physiology. 32: 639-643.


Carbon (C) allocation is a major issue in plant ecology, controlling the flows of C fixed in photosynthesis between respiration and biomass production, and between short- and long-lived and aboveground and belowground tissues. Incomplete knowledge of C allocation currently hinders accurate modelling of tree growth and forest ecosystem metabolism (Friedlingstein et al. 1999, Gower et al. 2001, Landsberg 2003, Ryan et al. 2004, Litton et al. 2007), and thus predictions of the effects on C cycling of variations in environmental conditions, soil fertility, tree and forest age, species composition and global change. Allocation to reproduction versus above- and belowground vegetative parts (Mund et al. 2010) is closely related to seed production and survival. Allocation also plays an important role for acquisition of resources (light, nutrients and water) that often limit forest productivity (Litton et al. 2007). The harvest index, the distribution of resources between the harvested parts of the plants and the remaining biomass, is a key parameter in agriculture and forestry. While photosynthetic capacities of plants determine the overall C acquisition and then biomass production, only a part goes to the harvested organs (Navarro et al. 2008). In trees, only 10-30% of the C fixed in photosynthesis is used for wood production (Litton et al. 2007), and wood production is perhaps the biomass component most sensitive to environment and nutrition.

Keywords: carbon allocation, plant ecology

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Introduction to the invited issue on carbon allocation of trees and forests
Electronic Publish Date: July 31, 2012
Last Update:
September 12, 2012

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