Trees, 2013, Vol.27(6), pp.1763-1773
KEY MESSAGE : Our study provides evidence that neither elevated CO ₂ nor elevated O ₃ alters the positive asymmetric competition for light and the symmetric competition for water among beech and spruce individuals grown in monoculture. We conclude that the mechanism of competition (i.e. symmetric/asymmetric) above (e.g shading or overtopping effect) and belowground (e.g. non-preemption or foraging) rather than abiotic treatments such as elevated CO ₂ , O ₃ and CO ₂ /O ₃ regimes, plays a dominant role for ensuring competitive success among tree saplings. Despite numerous studies conducted on plant responses to increasing CO₂ and O₃ concentrations, there is still a gap in understanding on how these gasses would affect the mode of competition (e.g., the ability by which larger and smaller plants capture resources) at the individual level of intra-specific beech and spruce saplings. Using empirical data and simulations from the plant-growth model PLATHO, we analyzed underlying mechanisms of competition and extrapolated effects beyond the time span of the experiment. We hypothesized that among juvenile beech and spruce trees planted in monoculture, +CO₂ would diminish the positive asymmetric competition for light. Conversely, +O₃ would enhance this outcome. In addition, we hypothesized that the symmetric mode of competition belowground for water would remain unchanged, irrespective of +CO₂ and/or +O₃ treatments. Our results showed that +CO₂ and/or +O₃ treatments did not alter the mode of competition aboveground for light. Conversely, we accepted our hypothesis that the mode of competition for water would remain unchanged under both treatments. Overall, we conclude that neither +CO₂ nor +O₃ alters the positive asymmetric competition for light and the symmetric competition for water among beech and spruce individuals grown in monoculture. We further conclude that competitive mechanism above (e.g., shading or overtopping effect) and belowground (e.g., non-preemption or foraging) rather than abiotic treatments, such as elevated CO₂, O₃ and CO₂/O₃ regimes, plays a dominant role for ensuring competitive success among tree saplings. ; p. 1763-1773.
CO ; O ; Mode of competition ; Light ; Water ; Beech and spruce saplings
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