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Long-term stem CO2 concentration measurements in Norway spruce in relation to biotic and abiotic factors

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Etzold Sophia, Zweifel Roman, Rühr Nadine, Eugster Werner, Buchmann Nina,
Project ICOS-CH: Integrated Carbon Observation System in Switzerland
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal New Phytologist
Volume (Issue) 197
Page(s) 1171 - 1184
Title of proceedings New Phytologist
DOI 10.1111/nph.12115


Stem CO2 concentrations (stem CO2) undergo large temporal variations that need to be understood to better link tree physiological processes to biosphere–atmosphere CO2 exchange. During 19 months, stem CO2 was continuously measured in mature subalpine Norway spruce trees (Picea abies) and jointly analysed with stem, soil and air temperatures, sap flow rates, stem radius changes and CO2 efflux rates from stem and soil on different time scales. Stem CO2 exhibited a strong seasonality, of which over 80% could be explained with stem and soil temperatures. Both physical equilibrium processes of CO2 between water and air according to Henry’s law as well as physiological effects, including sap flow and local respiration, concurrently contributed to these temporal variations. Moreover, the explanatory power of potential biological drivers (stem radius changes, sap flow and soil respiration) varied strongly with season and temporal resolution. We conclude that seasonal and daily courses of stem CO2 in spruce trees are a combined effect of physical equilibrium and tree physiological processes. Furthermore, we emphasize the relevance of axial diffusion of CO2 along air-filled spaces in the wood, and potential wound response processes owing to sensor installation.