Journal Article

Variations in relative stomatal and biochemical limitations to photosynthesis in a young blackbutt (<i>Eucalyptus pilularis</i>) plantation subjected to different weed control regimes

Zhiqun Huang, Zhihong Xu, Timothy J. Blumfield and Ken Bubb

in Tree Physiology

Volume 28, issue 7, pages 997-1005
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/28.7.997
Variations in relative stomatal and biochemical limitations to photosynthesis in a young blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) plantation subjected to different weed control regimes

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Foliar gas exchange and carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope ratios were measured in a young blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis Sm.) plantation subjected to four weed control treatments defined by the width of the weed-free strip maintained for the first 12 months after planting. Treatments were: 2-m-wide weed-free strip (50% of plot area, 2.0MWC), 1.5-m-wide weed-free strip (37.5% of plot area, 1.5MWC), 1-m-wide weed-free strip (25% of plot area, 1.0MWC) and no weed control (NWC). Our objectives were to determine (1) if decreasing the width of the weed control strip (decreasing herbicide use) affected growth and leaf photosynthesis of the plantation, and (2) the effects of the weed control regimes on variations in relative stomatal and biochemical limitations to photosynthesis. Trees in the 1.0MWC treatment had lower foliar light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Asat) than trees in the 2.0MWC treatment. An increase in metabolic limitation was responsible for the decrease in Asat in the 1.0MWC trees, which was also partly confirmed by the isotopic data. Compared with trees in the 1.0MWC, 1.5MWC and 2.0MWC treatments, Asat of NWC trees was significantly lower, a difference that was attributable mainly to stomatal limitation and to a lesser extent to biochemical limitation. The results support the conclusion that different weed control regimes cause differences in relative stomatal and biochemical limitations to plantation photosynthesis. This report contributes to a growing body of literature on competition for soil resources between trees and weeds. Our results highlight the usefulness of the stable isotopic method in supporting analysis of the response of net photosynthesis to varying intercellular CO2 concentration for determining the relative stomatal and non-stomatal limitations to photosynthesis under experimental conditions in the field.

Keywords: A/Ci curve; δ13C; δ18O

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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