Intrinsic water-use efficiency of temperate seminatural grassland has increased since 1857: an analysis of carbon isotope discrimination of herbage from the Park Grass Experiment

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Kohler, I. H., Poulton, P. R., Auerswald, K. and Schnyder, H. 2010. Intrinsic water-use efficiency of temperate seminatural grassland has increased since 1857: an analysis of carbon isotope discrimination of herbage from the Park Grass Experiment. Global Change Biology. 16 (5), pp. 1531-1541.

AuthorsKohler, I. H., Poulton, P. R., Auerswald, K. and Schnyder, H.
Abstract

A 150-year-long record of intrinsic water-use efficiency (W-i) was derived from community-level carbon isotope discrimination (13 delta) in the herbage of the unfertilized, unlimed control treatment (plot 3) of the Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted (England) between 1857 and 2007. 13 delta during spring growth (first cut harvested in June) averaged 21.0 parts per thousand (+/- 0.5 parts per thousand SD) and has not shown a long-term trend (P=0.5) since 1857. 13 delta of summer/autumn growth (second cut harvested between September and November) increased from 21.3 parts per thousand to 22.0 parts per thousand (P < 0.001) between 1875 and 2007. W-i during spring growth has therefore increased by 33% since the beginning of the experiment, and W-i of summer/autumn growth has increased by 18%. The variation in 13 delta was mainly related to weather conditions. Plant available soil water explained 51% and 40% of the variation in spring growth 13 delta and summer/autumn growth 13 delta, respectively. In the 1857-2007 period yields have not increased, suggesting that community-level photosynthesis has not increased either. Therefore, the increased W-i probably resulted from a decreased stomatal conductance. Vapour pressure deficit (VPD) during spring growth (March-June) has not changed since 1915, meaning that instantaneous water-use efficiency (W-t) in spring time has increased and transpiration has probably decreased, provided that leaf temperature followed air temperature. Conversely, VPD in the months between the first and second cut has increased by 0.07 kPa since 1915, offsetting the effect of increased W-i on W-t during summer and early autumn. Our results suggest that vegetation has adjusted physiologically to elevated CO2 by decreasing stomatal conductance in this nutrient-limited grassland.

Keywordsbiodiversity conservation; Ecology; Environmental Sciences
Year of Publication2010
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Journal citation16 (5), pp. 1531-1541
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02067.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeSEF
BCC
Maintaining soil resilience and function for sustainable land management
Assessing soil based solutions to carbon management
The 'Classical' experiments: Broadbalk and Park Grass [2001-2012]
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
PublisherWiley
ISSN1354-1013

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/8q5z3/intrinsic-water-use-efficiency-of-temperate-seminatural-grassland-has-increased-since-1857-an-analysis-of-carbon-isotope-discrimination-of-herbage-from-the-park-grass-experiment

3 total views
32 total downloads
0 views this month
5 downloads this month