Foliar CO2 in a holm oak forest subjected to 15 years of climate change simulation

TitleFoliar CO2 in a holm oak forest subjected to 15 years of climate change simulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsOgaya, R., Llusia J., Barbeta A., Asensio D., Liu D., Alessio G. Arturo, & Penuelas J.
JournalPlant Science
Keywordsclimate change, Drought, mediterranean forest, phillyrea latifolia, photosynthetic rates, Quercus ilex

A long-term experimental drought to simulate future expected climatic conditions for Mediterranean forests, a 15% decrease in soil moisture for the following decades, was conducted in a holm oak forest since 1999. Net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and leaf water potential were measured from 1999 to 2013 in Quercus ilex and Phillyrea latifolia, two co-dominant species of this forest. These measurements were performed in four plots, two of them received the drought treatment and the two other plots were control plots. The three studied variables decreased with increases in VPD and decreases in soil moisture in both species, but the decrease of leaf water potential during summer drought was larger in P. latifolia, whereas Q. ilex reached higher net photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance values during rainy periods than P. latifolia. The drought treatment decreased ca. 8% the net photosynthetic rates during the overall studied period in both Q. ilex and P. latifolia, whereas there were just non-significant trends toward a decrease in leaf water potential and stomatal conductance induced by drought treatment. Future drier climate may lead to a decrease in the carbon balance of Mediterranean species, and some shrub species well resistant to drought could gain competitive advantage relative to Q. ilex, currently the dominant species of this forest.