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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2018

  • Title: Investigating the relationship between wood growth dynamics and carbon availability
  • Primary Author: Tim Rademacher (Harvard University)
  • Additional Authors: David Basler (Harvard University); Mariah Carbone (NCEAS); Andrew Friend (University of Cambridge); Andrew Richardson (Northern Arizona University); Rachael Turton (University of Cambridge)
  • Abstract:

    Wood is a primary reservoir of carbon in the global carbon cycle and its size is determined by growth and mortality. In models of terrestrial vegetation, wood growth is mostly formalised as a function of photosynthesis, without representation of the meristem or explicit incorporation of processes of wood formation and their limitations. In 2017, intra-annual dynamics of wood formation and carbon availability were measured in three species (white pine, red maple and red oak) in Harvard Forest. On top of the observations carbon carbon supply along the stem was also modulated by reductions in phloem-mediated transport of sugars through girdling and compression. We hypothesise that carbon availability does not influence rates and periods of cell division, cell elongation and cell wall thickening, which contrasts current modelling paradigms because this would imply direct limitations of wood growth. In addition, the collected data is used to inform and constrain an efficient wood growth algorithm for incorporation in a global vegetation model. The modelling framework will allow the global scaling of potential repercussions by comparing dual paradigms. We are currently analysing the 2017 data and prepare the 2018 field season, which will include additional chilling experiments.

  • Research Category: Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions; Forest-Atmosphere Exchange