Journal Article

Seasonal Variation in CO<sub>2</sub> Efflux of Stems and Branches of Norway Spruce Trees

Manuel Acosta, Marian Pavelka, Radek Pokorný, Dalibor Janouš and Michal V. Marek

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 3, pages 469-477
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Seasonal Variation in CO2 Efflux of Stems and Branches of Norway Spruce Trees

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Stem and branch respiration, important components of total forest ecosystem respiration, were measured on Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees from May to October in four consecutive years in order (1) to evaluate the influence of temperature on woody tissue CO2 efflux with special focus on variation in Q10 (change in respiration rate resulting from a 10 °C increase in temperature) within and between seasons, and (2) to quantify the contribution of above-ground woody tissue (stem and branch) respiration to the carbon balance of the forest ecosystem.


Stem and branch CO2 efflux were measured, using an IRGA and a closed gas exchange system, 3–4 times per month on 22-year-old trees under natural conditions. Measurements of ecosystem CO2 fluxes were also determined during the whole experiment by using the eddy covariance system. Stem and branch temperatures were monitored at 10-min intervals during the whole experiment.

Key Results

The temperature of the woody tissue of stems and branches explained up to 68 % of their CO2 efflux. The mean annual Q10 values ranged from 2·20 to 2·32 for stems and from 2·03 to 2·25 for branches. The mean annual normalized respiration rate, R10, for stems and branches ranged from 1·71 to 2·12 µmol CO2 m−2s −1 and from 0·24 to 0·31 µmol CO2 m−2 s−1, respectively. The annual contribution of stem and branch CO2 efflux to total ecosystem respiration were, respectively, 8·9 and 8·1 % in 1999, 9·2 and 9·2 % in 2000, 7·6 and 8·6 % in 2001, and 8·6 and 7·9 % in 2002. Standard deviation for both components ranged from 3 to 8 % of the mean.


Stem and branch CO2 efflux varied diurnally and seasonally, and were related to the temperature of the woody tissue and to growth. The proportion of CO2 efflux from stems and branches is a significant component of the total forest ecosystem respiration, approx. 8 % over the 4 years, and predictive models must take their contribution into account.

Keywords: Stem respiration; branch respiration; Picea abies; seasonal variation; temperature; Q10; R10

Journal Article.  5100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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