Environmental factors can reduce negative impacts of ozone pollution on poplar trees

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Ground-level ozone (O3) pollution alters tree chemical profiles, and consequently, the functioning of forest ecosystems including plant-herbivore interactions, litter decomposition and nutrient cycling. However, variations in soil water and nutrient availability can improve or worsen the impacts of elevated O3. Professor John Couture (Forestry & Natural Resources) and colleagues investigated the interactive effects of ground-level ozone, water deficit and nitrogen on the foliar chemical profiles in hybrid poplar tree saplings and concluded that context matters in the tree’s ability to tolerate elevated O3. They found that decreased soil water content, rather than nitrogen addition, reduces the impacts of elevated O3 on tree chemical profiles in poplar tree saplings. These results highlight the need to consider multiple environmental factors to optimize the management of plantations under changing environments.

Li, Z., Yang, J., Shang, B., Xu, Y., Couture, J.J., Yuan, X., Kobayshi, K., and Z. Feng (2020). Water stress rather than N addition mitigates impacts of elevated O3 on foliar chemical profiles in poplar saplings. Science of the Total Environment 707. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135935

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