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Effect of elevated [CO2] on stem wood properties of mature Norway spruce grown at different soil nutrient availability


Elina Vapaavuori, tel. +358 10 211 4888, fax +358 10 211 4801, e-mail:


The objective of the present study was to investigate the interactive effects of elevated [CO2] and soil nutrient availability on secondary xylem structure and chemical composition of 41-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) trees. The nonfertilized and irrigated-fertilized trees were, for 3 years, continuously exposed to elevated [CO2] in whole-tree chambers. Elevated [CO2] decreased concentrations of soluble sugars, acid-soluble lignin and nitrogen in stem wood, but the effects were not consistent between sampling height and/or fertilization. The effect of 2*ambient [CO2] on wood structure depended on the exposure year and/or fertilization. Radial lumen diameter decreased and annual ring width increased in the second year of exposure (1999) in elevated [CO2]. In the latter, the CO2 effect was significant only in the nonfertilized trees. Stem wood chemistry and structure were significantly affected by fertilization. Fertilization increased the concentrations of nitrogen and gravimetric lignin, annual ring width, and radial lumen diameter. Fertilization decreased C/N ratio, mean ring density, earlywood density, latewood density, cell wall thickness, cell wall index, and latewood percentage. We conclude that elevated [CO2] had only minor effects on wood properties while fertilization had more marked effects and thus may affect ecosystem processes and suitability of wood for different end-use purposes.

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