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

Simulation of future climatic conditions applied to managed agro-forestry ecosystem

EuroFACE research infrestructure, one of the few on forest ecosystems in Europe, has created a platform for multidisciplinary, ecosystem-scale research on the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations over extended periods of time. In doing so, a large amount of high-CO2-grown plant material can be produced, enough to support the research of many cooperating scientists. This has encouraged research by teams of investigators, who can study different aspects of an ecosystem's response to CO2 enrichment.

This concurrent use by numerous independent scientists has provided economies of scale and the potential to gain new insights into ecosystem responses that are difficult or impossible to obtain with smaller scale studies. The managed forest ecosystem, a poplar plantation, was firstly established in late spring 1999 using uniform hardwood cuttings (length 25 cm).

The entire 9-ha field was planted with Populus x euramericana genotype I-214 at a planting density of 5000 trees per ha (spacing 2 m x 1 m). The six experimental plots were planted with three different poplar genotypes at a planting density of 10000 trees per ha (spacing 1 m x 1 m) in order to have a sufficient number of experimental trees and a closed canopy after a short time. Growth of trees was rapid over the first, 3-year long, rotation cycle; at the end of the third growing season the height of the canopy was almost 10 m. Silvicultural management consisted of harvesting the poplar trees and naturally regenerating the plantation through coppicing.

A second rotation cycle was then initiated with the production of a multi-stem forest plantation. At the end of the second rotation a tree stand, 12 m high, was obtained; a second complete harvesting was implemented and the derived biomass feeded to a bio-energy plant to produce renewable, C-neutral, electrical power. The biomass produced under modified atmospheric conditions is valuable also for other European projects and for wood technological tests.

The NPP of the three-genotype stands was increased in e[CO2] as compared to control by 20 to 36%, in both successive rotations. Therefore, rising atmospheric [CO2] might further expand the potential of forest plantations for C-sequestration, in the above- and belowground biological components.

Informations connexes

Reported by

Dept. Forest environment and resources
01100 Viterbo