Skip to Main Content
Seasonal dynamics and age of stemwood nonstructural carbohydrates in temperate forest treesAuthor(s): Andrew D. Richardson; Mariah S. Carbone; Trevor F. Keenan; Claudia I. Czimczik; David Y. Hollinger; Paula Murakami; Paul G. Schaberg; Xiaomei Xu
Source: New Phytologist. 197: 850-861.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (673.75 KB)
DescriptionNonstructural carbohydrate reserves support tree metabolism and growth when current photosynthates are insufficient, offering resilience in times of stress. We monitored stemwood nonstructural carbohydrate (starch and sugars) concentrations of the dominant tree species at three sites in the northeastern United States. We estimated the mean age of the starch and sugars in a subset of trees using the radiocarbon (14C) bomb spike. With these data, we then tested different carbon (C) allocation schemes in a process-based model of forest C cycling. We found that the nonstructural carbohydrates are both highly dynamic and about a decade old. Seasonal dynamics in starch (two to four times higher in the growing season, lower in the dormant season) mirrored those of sugars. Radiocarbon-based estimates indicated that the mean age of the starch and sugars in red maple (Acer rubrum) was 7-14 yr. A two-pool (fast and slow cycling reserves) model structure gave reasonable estimates of the size and mean residence time of the total NSC pool, and greatly improved model predictions of interannual variability in woody biomass increment, compared with zero- or one-pool structures used in the majority of existing models. This highlights the importance of nonstructural carbohydrates in the context of forest ecosystem carbon cycling.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationRichardson, Andrew D.; Carbone, Mariah S.; Keenan, Trevor F.; Czimczik, Claudia I.; Hollinger, David Y.; Murakami, Paula; Schaberg, Paul G.; Xu, Xiaomei. 2013. Seasonal dynamics and age of stemwood nonstructural carbohydrates in temperate forest trees. New Phytologist. 197: 850-861.
Keywordscarbon allocation, carbon cycle model, mean residence time, nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) reserves, radiocarbon (14C), starch.
- Investigating causes of mortality in Vermont
- Age, allocation and availability of nonstructural carbon in mature red maple trees
- Distribution and mixing of old and new nonstructural carbon in two temperate trees
XML: View XML