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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Effects of atmospheric carbon enrichment of cultivated terrestrial ecosystems: a face experiment on short rotation intensive polar plantation


The main NAMIC objective is to develop and bring to marketable stage advanced NLP technologies for multilingual news customisation and broadcasting through distributed services. The actual outcome is then the production of:
(1) the single software packages- English, Italian and Spanish Language Processors- User and Domain Profile system - Authoring Engine- Cross-Linguistic Linking Engine- Multilingual Hyper-News Engine
(2) and the NAMIC integrated prototype, available at the project’s end (April 2002). The last project months have been used to evaluate the real impact of the proposed NAMIC technology (the prototype) in the different business environments where it has been installed: ANSA (Italy), EFE (Spain) Premises.
The mechanistic and process-based responses of trees and tree communities to global change, particularly in response to the predicted increase of atmospheric [CO2], will be crucial in determining the ability of woody plantations and natural forests to sequester carbon at the global scale. This in turn will have feedback effects where tree stands may influence climate at a regional and global scale and therefore influence the process of environmental change at these different scales. Despite the key role played by trees and forests within the terrestrial biosphere, we still have very limited information on the total responses of agro-forestry and forest systems to enhanced CO2 because of the complex web of possible interactions. The few studies conducted at the whole-tree and community scale indicate that there will be a marked increase of primary production, but this increment will be mainly allocated into below-ground biomass. However, the proportionality of this response may well depend on nutrients and water availability in the soil and, also, on genotypic characteristics. Another critical point to be clarified concerns the implications of below-ground carbon allocation for long-term carbon storage. The enhanced carbon transfer to the root system may be used mainly to increase root respiration or, otherwise, to permanently augment the amount of root dry matter and the mycorrhizal activity. The water balance of agro-forestry systems is a key process to understand the coupling of the biosphere and atmosphere responses to CO2. The possible effects of changes of stomatal activity and leaf area production on whole-stand transpiration need to be precisely assessed and quantified. The responses of trees and forests to enhanced CO2 will ultimately depend on the interactions connecting the different organisms that compose the complex trophic webs of such systems. A fundamental issue of the research on global change effects on terrestrial biosphere is the need to appropriately design the experiments to be conducted at the community and ecosystem level.

The FACE technology has the great merit of not altering the general microclimate of the test area and allows to conduct the research on impacts of global change truly at the ecosystem level; however, FACE facilities should be combined with adequate forest tree systems in order to avoid such drawbacks as lack of replication, large genetic variability and delayed response of already adult trees. The research we propose is rather unique because we intend to combine a fast growing, agro-forestry ecosystem, capable of elevated biomass production, with a large-scale FACE system, that is not presently available in any country of the European Union. The FACE facility will be located close to a natural CO2 source and will draw scientists from at least five countries of EU to closely cooperate and combine their scientific efforts on the same experimental system.

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Via S. Camillo de Lellis

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Participants (7)