Soil respiration, root biomass, and root turnover following long-term exposure of northern forests to elevated atmospheric CO2 and tropospheric O3


Author for correspondence:
Kurt S. Pregitzer
Tel: +775 784 4000 Fax:+775 784 4583


  • • The Rhinelander free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment is designed to understand ecosystem response to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (+CO2) and elevated tropospheric ozone (+O3). The objectives of this study were: to understand how soil respiration responded to the experimental treatments; to determine whether fine-root biomass was correlated to rates of soil respiration; and to measure rates of fine-root turnover in aspen (Populus tremuloides) forests and determine whether root turnover might be driving patterns in soil respiration.
  • • Soil respiration was measured, root biomass was determined, and estimates of root production, mortality and biomass turnover were made.
  • • Soil respiration was greatest in the +CO2 and +CO2 +O3 treatments across all three plant communities. Soil respiration was correlated with increases in fine-root biomass. In the aspen community, annual fine-root production and mortality (g m−2) were positively affected by +O3.
  • • After 10 yr of exposure, +CO2 +O3-induced increases in belowground carbon allocation suggest that the positive effects of elevated CO2 on belowground net primary productivity (NPP) may not be offset by negative effects of O3. For the aspen community, fine-root biomass is actually stimulated by +O3, and especially +CO2 +O3.