Elevated CO2 compensates for drought effects in lemon saplings via stomatal downregulation, increased soil moisture, and increased wood carbon storage

Indira Paudel, Moshe Halpern, Yael Wagner, Eran Raveh, Uri Yermiyahu, Guenter Hoch, Tamir Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tree growth enhancement under elevated [CO2] is much smaller than originally anticipated; yet carbon overabundance can lead to increased wood carbon storage and to stomatal downregulation and hence reduced water-use. Notably, all three outcomes increase tree drought resistance. Here we studied growth, water relations, and nonstructural carbohydrates of 60 lemon saplings growing in CO2-controlled rooms at the same greenhouse, under 400, 650, and 850 ppm [CO2]. At each [CO2] level, 10 saplings were exposed to 1-month dry-down after 2 months of standard irrigation, followed by re-watering for another month. The other 10 saplings served as controls. Under drought, tree growth was maintained at elevated, but not ambient, CO2, linked with mild vs. severe tree water stress (leaf water potential of −3.5 at elevated and −5.5 MPa at ambient [CO2]). Stomatal downregulation with increasing [CO2] meant that leaf transpiration and diurnal plant water-use were 13–46% lower at elevated vs. ambient [CO2] but photosynthesis was still 15–25% higher. CO2-induced increases in root and shoot starch were transient but significant. Our results suggest that when predicting tree growth in a warmer and drier future, concomitant atmospheric CO2 concentration must be considered. In young lemon trees, elevated CO2 partially compensated for drought effects on tree growth and water status, and might delay some of the effects of the anthropogenic climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Volume148
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CO
  • Drought resistance
  • Stomatal adjustment
  • Storage carbohydrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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