The growth patterns of woody vegetation in Central Texas woodlands in response to industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide.


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Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. Climate change influences plants within ecosystems; however, plant growth may mitigate climate change consequences. In southern and central Texas, recent woody plant abundance increased within ecosystems historically dominated by herbaceous species. This study investigates carbon budgets of aggrading woodlands in context of climate change and industrial carbon dioxide levels. Carbon storage was estimated for tree foliage, stem, litter, fine and coarse roots. Vine and shrub carbon were estimated. Photosynthesis and litter decomposition measurements estimated carbon flux into and out of woodland ecosystems, respectively. Soil moisture was measured to evaluate water availability as a controlling mechanism of carbon storage between upland and riparian woodlands. A process model, Biome-BGC, assessed potential consequences of carbon dioxide and climate on carbon sequestration. Modeling showed carbon dioxide concentrations and climate influenced carbon sequestered in vegetation; these factors were not consistent across ecosystems and plant components.



Woodlands. Carbon dioxide.