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Greater seed production in elevated CO2 is not accompanied by reduced seed quality in Pinus taeda L.

Authors: 
Way DA, SL LaDeau, HR McCarthy, JS Clark, R Oren, AC Finzi, RB Jackson
Year: 
2010
Journal: 
Global Change Biology
Journal Volume/Pages: 
16: 1046–1056

For herbaceous species, elevated CO2 often increases seed production but usually leads to decreased seed quality. However, the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on tree fecundity remain uncertain, despite the importance of reproduction to the composition of future forests. We determined how seed quantity and quality differed for pine trees grown for 12 years in ambient and elevated (ambient plus 200 ml l-1) CO2, at the Duke Forest FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) site. We also compared annual reproductive effort with yearly measurements of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), precipitation (P), potential evapotranspiration (PET) and water availability (P-PET) to investigate factors that may drive inter-annual variation in seed production. The number of mature, viable seeds doubled per unit basal area in high CO2 plots from 1997 to 2008 (p

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