Scaling ozone effects from seedlings to forest trees


Author for correspondence: Lisa SamuelsonTel: +1 334 8441040 Fax: +1334 8441084


Biospheric ozone has become a widely distributed air pollutant, and a growing body of research indicates that ozone impacts forest health and productivity. Ozone effects are mediated by the ozone concentration present in the external environment and the movement of ozone into the leaf via the stoma. The cumulative dose received by the plant is, in the simplest terms, a function of ambient ozone concentration and stomatal conductance to water vapor. This relationship is important in understanding ozone flux into the leaf and subsequent ozone response in plants. Here, current progress in understanding ozone uptake in juvenile and mature trees is examined. Through an analysis of two long-term case studies, the significant uncertainty in assessing ozone effects on forests is pinpointed to be the scaling of ozone sensitivity from controlled seedling studies to large forest trees. A rigorous statistical and monitoring approach, which includes ozone uptake as a cause variable, may provide the missing information on processes that are known to be important to risk assessment of ozone impacts on forest trees.