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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Nitrogen productivity and allocation responses of 12 important tree species to increased CO2

Agren, Goran I.; Kattge, Jens


The increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to increase plant productivity. However, the strength of the response depends on the interaction with other limiting factors, of which nitrogen has been identified as one of the most important. This study analyzed the effects of increasing the CO2 concentration from 380ppm (ambient) to 1000ppm (elevated) on nitrogen productivity (incl. biomass allocation and nutrient concentration of plant organs) in nine deciduous and three conifer tree species. No clear effects on biomass allocation were observed, but leaf nitrogen concentration decreased. Nitrogen productivity increased by 28% over all species, with the strongest response in deciduous trees (34%) and the weakest in conifers (8%). Although these changes are statistically not significant, we conclude that nitrogen productivity provides an integrative and robust concept to assess the effect CO2 fertilization effects on tree growth under varying nitrogen availability, while more studies are required to firmly establish the magnitude of the response.


Nitrogen productivity; Carbon dioxide; Nitrogen; Allocation; Tree growth

Published in

Trees - Structure and Function
2017, Volume: 31, number: 2, pages: 617-621

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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