Supported by Discovery Project Number DP0879531 of the Australian Research Council; a University of Western Sydney International Research Schemes Initiative (IRIS) (71827); the National Science Foundation, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (0517521); sabbatical support from Boston University to NGP; and from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.
Capacity of Old Trees to Respond to Environmental Change
Article first published online: 23 OCT 2008
© 2008 Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology
Volume 50, Issue 11, pages 1355–1364, November 2008
How to Cite
Phillips, N. G., Buckley, T. N. and Tissue, D. T. (2008), Capacity of Old Trees to Respond to Environmental Change. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 50: 1355–1364. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00746.x
- Issue published online: 23 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 23 OCT 2008
- Received 18 May 2008 Accepted 12 Jun. 2008
- carbon dioxide;
- hydraulic limitation;
- old growth;
- tree rings
Atmospheric carbon dioxide [CO2] has increased dramatically within the current life spans of long-lived trees and old forests. Consider that a 500-year-old tree in the early twenty-first century has spent 70% of its life growing under pre-industrial levels of [CO2], which were 30% lower than current levels. Here we address the question of whether old trees have already responded to the rapid rise in [CO2] occurring over the past 150 years. In spite of limited data, aging trees have been shown to possess a substantial capacity for increased net growth after a period of post-maturity growth decline. Observations of renewed growth and physiological function in old trees have, in some instances, coincided with Industrial Age increases in key environmental resources, including [CO2], suggesting the potential for continued growth in old trees as a function of continued global climate change.