The effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration on growth of forest tree species are difficult to predict because practical limitations restrict experiments to much shorter than the average life-span of a tree. Long-term, process-based computer models must be used to extrapolate from shorter-term experiments. A key problem is to ensure a strong flow of information between experiments and models. In this study, meta-analysis techniques were used to summarize a suite of photosynthetic model parameters obtained from 15 field-based elevated [CO2] experiments on European forest tree species. The parameters studied are commonly used in modelling photosynthesis, and include observed light-saturated photosynthetic rates (A(max)), the potential electron transport rate (J(max)), the maximum Rubisco activity (V(cmax)) and leaf nitrogen concentration on mass (N(m)) and area (N(a)) bases. Across all experiments, light-saturated photosynthesis was strongly stimulated by growth in elevated [CO2]. However, significant down-regulation of photosynthesis was also observed; when measured at the same CO2 concentration, photosynthesis was reduced by 10-20%. The underlying biochemistry of photosynthesis was affected, as shown by a down-regulation of the parameters J(max) and V(cmax) of the order of 10%. This reduction in J(max) and V(cmax) was linked to the effects of elevated [CO2] on leaf nitrogen concentration. It was concluded that the current model is adequate to model photosynthesis in elevated [CO2]. Tables of model parameter values for different European forest species are given.
- Elevated [CO]