Ecophysiological, morphological, and allometric trait variation of two alder and two birch species used in land restoration under CO2 and soil moisture treatments

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University of New Brunswick


Ecophysiological, morphological, and allometric variation of four early-successional deciduous species were examined in a greenhouse experiment under ambient (aCO2, 400ppm), elevated CO2 (eCO2, 800ppm), well-watered (15-20% volumetric moisture content (VMC), and drought (5-10% VWC) treatments grown in sandy, low nutrient soil. The four species were: Alnus viridis ssp. crispa, A. incana ssp. rugosa, Betula populifolia, and B. papyrifera. Chapter 1: examined CO2 treatments under well-watered treatments and found greater biochemical efficiency and related traits in alders, which were upregulated under eCO2, compared to birches which were lower and downregulated or remained the same. This was driven by a greater biomass sink and greater foliar nitrogen for alders, given the genus’ actinorhizal ability. Chapter 2: significant CO2 x soil moisture interactions were found alongside differential species and genus growth responses. Alders exhibited greater dry mass production in stems, leaves, and roots than birches. Differential species and genus organ allocation in response to size were found under eCO2 and drought.