FE: Alan Knapp Thomas Hasper & Johan Uddling on water use in boreal forests in a changing climate

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Thomas Hasper and Johan Uddling talk to FE Editor Alan Knapp about their recent paper "Water use by Swedish boreal forests in a changing climate." The ongoing increases in atmospheric CO2 and temperature have the potential to alter the flux of water vapor through plant leaf ‘stomata’, tiny and actively regulated pores in the leaf surface, but relatively little is known about the water-use responses of boreal forests. In their study, the authors examined the water-use responses of Swedish boreal forests to climate change by using long-term monitoring as well as experimental data. They used climate and runoff data of large-scale boreal landscapes from the past 50 years to explore historical trends and patterns, as well as we examining explicit tree water-use responses to elevated [CO2] and/or air temperature in a whole-tree chamber experiment using mature Norway spruce trees. Their findings have important implications for projections of the future hydrology of European boreal coniferous forests, indicating that changes in precipitation and standing biomass are more important than effects of elevated [CO2] or temperature on tree transpiration rates. Hasper, T. B., Wallin, G., Lamba, S., Hall, M., Jaramillo, F., Laudon, H., Linder, S., Medhurst, J. L., Räntfors, M., Sigurdsson, B. D. and Uddling, J. (2015), Water use by Swedish boreal forests in a changing climate. Funct Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12546 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12546/abstract

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