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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Tree Bark

Sweetgum plantation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Free-Air CO2 Enrichment study site. Jeffrey M. Warren, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Sweetgum plantation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Free-Air CO2 Enrichment study site. Jeffrey M. Warren, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Snapshot: Evidence shows changes in bark chemistry from an elevated carbon dioxide treatment applied to sweetgum trees.
Summary:

Changes in plant tissue chemistry due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are well documented; however, the effects on tree bark chemistry have been largely ignored. Tree bark is a complex tissue comprising both the living inner bark, orphloem, and the dead outer bark. As a tree grows, the outermost layers of the inner bark are transformed into the innermost layers of outer bark. The whole outer bark serves as a barrier, sealing moisture within, and providing passive protection against damaging external agents such as fungal pathogens, insects and events such as fire. Active protection for a tree is provided by the inner bark, also serving the critical function of transporting the products of photosynthesis. A study was conducted to leverage a long-term field experiment in which sweetgum trees were subjected to elevated CO2 treatment over a 12-year timeframe. Forest Service scientists harvested trees and separated bark specimens into their inner and outer bark components for analysis. Shifts in chemical composition were identified for both the inner and outer barks. Specific to the inner bark, the scientists observed increases for solvent-soluble and inorganic ash-forming compounds. The implications of these changes on forest health and biomass utilization remain to be determined.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Eberhardt, Thomas L.


Research Location:
  • Forest Products Laboratory


Forest Service Partners:
  • Daniel J. Leduc
  • Karen G. Reed


External Partners:
  • Chi-Leung So
  • Jeffrey M. Warren
  • Keonhee Kim
  • Nicole Labbe

Fiscal Year: 2015
Highlight ID: 609
 
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