Elevated atmospheric CO2 increases fine root production, respiration, rhizosphere respiration and soil CO2 efflux in Scots pine seedlings


Ivan Janssens, fax + 32 3-820-22-71, e-mail ijanssen@uia.ua.ac.be


In this study, we investigated the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 (ambient + 350 μmol mol–1) on fine root production and respiration in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings. After six months exposure to elevated CO2, root production measured by root in-growth bags, showed significant increases in mean total root length and biomass, which were more than 100% greater compared to the ambient treatment. This increased root length may have lead to a more intensive soil exploration. Chemical analysis of the roots showed that the roots in the elevated treatment accumulated more starch and had a lower C/N-ratio. Specific root respiration rates were significantly higher in the elevated treatment and this was probably attributed to increased nitrogen concentrations in the roots. Rhizospheric respiration and soil CO2 efflux were also enhanced in the elevated treatment. These results clearly indicate that under elevated atmospheric CO2 root production and development in Scots pine seedlings is altered and respiratory carbon losses through the root system are increased.