Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Climate change experiment

To evaluate the effects of climate change on boreal forest ecosystems, both atmospheric carbon dioxide (to 560 parts per million volume, ppmv) and air temperature (by 3-5 C above ambient) were increased at a forested headwater catchment in southern Norway. The entire catchment (860 m2) is enclosed within a transparent greenhouse and the upper 20% of the catchment area is partitioned such that it receives no climate treatment and serves as an untreated control. Both the control and treatment greenhouse receive deacidified rain. Within 3 years, soil nitrogen mineralization has increased and the growing season is prolonged relative to the control area. This has helped to sustain an increase in plant growth relative to the control and has also promoted increased nitrogen export in streamwater. Photosynthetic capacity and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of new leaves of most plant species did not change. While the ecosystem now loses nitrogen, the long term fate of soil nitrogen is a key uncertainty in predicting the future response of boreal ecosystems to climate change.

Reported by

Natural Environment Research Council
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