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Keywords:

  • Fagus sylvatica (beech);
  • Quercus petraea (sessile oak);
  • carbohydrate reserves;
  • reserve utilization;
  • tree scaling;
  • interspecific comparison

Summary

  • •  
    The exhaustive distribution of total carbohydrate reserves was investigated in oak and beech trees that were approx. 40 yr old and felled at two dates (October 1999 and June 2000) to estimate variations in reserve amounts at the tree level.
  • •  
    The total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) content was highest in the twigs and coarse roots, reaching 10 g 100 g−1 dry matter and 12 g 100 g−1 dry matter for beech and oak twigs, and 13 g 100 g−1 dry matter and 16 g 100 g−1 dry matter for beech and oak roots, respectively. Similar distribution in tree carbohydrates was observed for both species and date, but with contrasting starch/sugar sharing.
  • •  
    Scaling-up to reserve amounts at tree level was performed with extensive organ biomass measurements. Based on the respective biomass of the organs, stem and roots contained the highest quantity of reserves. Between October (before leaf fall) and June (after bud-burst and leaf area index expansion) oaks used double the reserves of beeches.
  • •  
    These differences in the allocation of carbohydrate reserves could arise from differential needs for spring growth and winter maintenance respiration between the two species.