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Water use of a bioenergy plantation increases in a future high CO2 world

By Penny J. Tricker, Marco Pecchiari, Steve M. Bunn, Francesco P. Vaccari, Alessandro Peressotti, Franco Miglietta and Gail Taylor


Fast-growing poplar trees may in future be used as a source of renewable energy for heat, electricity and biofuels such as bioethanol. Water use in Populus x euramericana (clone I214), following long-term exposure to elevated CO2 in the POPFACE (poplar free-air carbon dioxide enrichment) experiment, is quantified here.<br/><br/>Stomatal conductance was measured and, during two measurement campaigns made before and after coppicing, whole-tree water use was determined using heat-balance sap-flow gauges, first validated using eddy covariance measurements of latent heat flux.<br/><br/>Water use was determined by the balance between leaf-level reductions in stomatal conductance and tree-level stimulations in transpiration. Reductions in stomatal conductance were found that varied between 16 and 39% relative to ambient air. Whole-tree sap flow was increased in plants growing under elevated CO2, on average, by 12 and 23%, respectively, in the first and in the second measurement campaigns.<br/><br/>These results suggest that future CO2 concentrations may result in an increase in seasonal water use in fast-growing, short-rotation Populus plantation

Topics: GE, QH301
Year: 2009
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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