Net carbon storage in a popular plantation (POPFACE) after three years of free-air CO2 enrichment

B. Gielen, C. Calfapietra, M. Lukac, V.E. Wittig, P. de Angelis, I.A. Janssens, M.C. Moscatelli, S. Grego, M.F. Cotrufo, D. Godbold, M.R. Hoosbeek, S. Long, F. Miglietta, A. Polle, C. Bernacchi, P.A. Davey, R. Ceulemans, G. Scarascia-Mugnozza

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A high-density plantation of three genotypes of Populus was exposed to an elevated concentration of carbon dioxide ([CO2]; 550 µmol mol¿1) from planting through canopy closure using a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) technique. The FACE treatment stimulated gross primary productivity by 22 and 11% in the second and third years, respectively. Partitioning of extra carbon (C) among C pools of different turnover rates is of critical interest; thus, we calculated net ecosystem productivity (NEP) to determine whether elevated atmospheric [CO2] will enhance net plantation C storage capacity. Free-air CO2 enrichment increased net primary productivity (NPP) of all genotypes by 21% in the second year and by 26% in the third year, mainly because of an increase in the size of C pools with relatively slow turnover rates (i.e., wood). In all genotypes in the FACE treatment, more new soil C was added to the total soil C pool compared with the control treatment. However, more old soil C loss was observed in the FACE treatment compared with the control treatment, possibly due to a priming effect from newly incorporated root litter. FACE did not significantly increase NEP, probably as a result of this priming effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1408
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • temperature response functions
  • elevated atmospheric co2
  • soil organic-matter
  • limited photosynthesis
  • dioxide enrichment
  • microbial biomass
  • turnover
  • forest
  • populus
  • dynamics


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