Fine-root respiration in a loblolly pine and sweetgum forest growing in elevated CO2

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• The loss of carbon below-ground through respiration of fine roots may be modified by global change. Here we tested the hypothesis that a reduction in N concentration of tree fine-roots grown in an elevated atmospheric CO concentration would reduce maintenance respiration and that more energy would be used for root growth and N uptake. We partitioned total fine-root respiration (R ) between maintenance (R ), growth (R ), and N uptake respiration (R ) for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) forests exposed to elevated CO . • A substantial increase in fine-root production contributed to a 151% increase in R for loblolly pine in elevated CO . Root specific R for pine was 24% lower under elevated CO but when extrapolated to the entire forest, no treatment effect could be detected. • R (< 10%) and R (< 3%) were small components of R in both forests. Maintenance respiration was the vast majority of R , and contributed 92% and 86% of these totals at the pine and sweetgum forests, respectively. • The hypothesis was rejected because the majority of fine-root respiration was used for maintenance and was not reduced by changes in root N concentration in elevated CO . Because of its large contribution to R and total soil CO efflux, changes in R caused by warming may greatly alter carbon losses from forests to the atmosphere. 2 T M G N 2 G 2 M 2 G N M T 2 T 2 M

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New Phytologist

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