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Browsed Betula pubescens trees are not carbon-limited

AuthorsPalacio, Sara ; Hester, A. J.; Maestro Martínez, Melchor ; Millard, P.
Non-structural carbohydrates
Downy birch
Issue Date4-Jun-2008
CitationFunctional Ecology 22 (5): 808–815 (2008)
Abstract1. Slower growth after repetitive browsing of young trees has been attributed to a carbon (C) limitation, but data from long-term studies are lacking. To determine if repeated summer browsing causes a C (source) limitation in trees in the long-term, we analysed the non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) and nitrogen (N) concentrations and pools of Betula pubescens saplings subjected to different clipping treatments (unclipped, 33% and 66% shoot removal) for 7 years. 2. The short-term effect of browsing on C allocation was assessed by clipping trees with different browsing histories and analyzing their C and N responses within the same growing season. 3. Long-term repetitive summer browsing significantly decreased sapling growth and soluble sugar (SS) concentrations in fine roots. However, trees subjected to different browsing histories did not change their C partitioning into starch. Although trees with a different browsing history showed differences in the NSC concentrations and pools of leaves, these differences were not maintained through time. 4. Simulated browsing had no significant short-term effect on root C and N pools of birch trees, but it decreased all C pools in leaves, 1-year and current-year stems and the starch and total NSC pools in main stems. 5. We conclude that although browsing may cause a temporary decrease in C pools, B. pubescens trees are able to compensate for such losses and hence are not C-limited in the long-term.
Description33 páginas, 5 figuras, 3 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01433.x
Appears in Collections:(IPE) Artículos
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