Respiration acclimation contributes to high carbon-use efficiency in a seasonally dry pine forest

  • Maseyk K
  • Grünzweig J
  • Rotenberg E
 et al. 
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Predictions of warming and drying in the Mediterranean and other regions
require quantifying of such effects on ecosystem carbon dynamics
and respiration. Long-term effects can only be obtained from forests
in which seasonal drought is a regular feature. We carried out measurements
in a semiarid Pinus halepensis (Aleppo pine) forest of aboveground
respiration rates of foliage, R(f), and stem, R(t) over 3 years.
Component respiration combined with ongoing biometric, net CO(2)
flux {[}net ecosystem productivity (NEP)] and soil respiration measurements
were scaled to the ecosystem level to estimate gross and net primary
productivity (GPP, NPP) and carbon-use efficiency (CUE=NPP/GPP) using
6 years data. GPP, NPP and NEP were, on average, 880, 350 and 211
g C m(-2) yr(-1), respectively. The above ground respiration made
up half of total ecosystem respiration but CUE remained high at 0.4.
Large seasonal variations in both R(f) and R(t) were not consistently
correlated with seasonal temperature trends. Seasonal adjustments
of respiration were observed in both the normalized rate (R(20))
and short-term temperature sensitivity (Q(10)), resulting in low
respiration rates during the hot, dry period. R(f) in fully developed
needles was highest over winter-spring, and foliage R(20) was correlated
with photosynthesis over the year. Needle growth occurred over summer,
with respiration rates in developing needles higher than the fully
developed foliage at most times. R(t) showed a distinct seasonal
maximum in May irrespective of year, which was not correlated to
the winter stem growth, but could be associated with phenological
drivers such as carbohydrate re-mobilization and cambial activity.
We show that in a semiarid pine forest photosynthesis and stem growth
peak in (wet) winter and leaf growth in (dry) summer, and associated
adjustments of component respiration, dominated by those in R(20),
minimize annual respiratory losses. This is likely a key for maintaining
high CUE and ecosystem productivity similar to much wetter sites,
and could lead to different predictions of the effect of warming
and drying climate on productivity of pine forests than based on
short-term droughts.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autotrophic respiration
  • Carbon balance
  • Drought
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Phenology
  • Photosynthesis
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Productivity
  • Temperature response

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  • Kadmiel Maseyk

  • José M. Grünzweig

  • Eyal Rotenberg

  • Dan Yakir

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