, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 1134–1139 | Cite as

Autumnal leaf abscission of sugar maple is not delayed by atmospheric CO2 enrichment

  • L. LiEmail author
  • W. J. Manning
  • X. K. Wang
Original paper


To investigate the effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on physiology and autumnal leaf phenology, we exposed 3-year-old sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) seedlings to 800 (A8), 600 (A6), and 400 μL(CO2) L–1 (AA) in nine continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) chambers during the growing season of 2014. Leaf abscission timing, abscised leaf area percentages, leaf number, light-saturated net photosynthetic rate (PNmax), leaf area, accumulative growth rates, and biomass were determined and assessed. The results suggested the following: (1) no significant differences were found in the timing of leaf abscission in the three CO2-concentration treatments; (2) PNmax was continuously stimulated to the greatest extent in A8 at 319% and 160% in A6 until the end of the growing season, respectively; and (3) leaf number, leaf area, and accumulative height growth all significantly increased by elevated CO2, which led to a 323% increase in A8 biomass and 235% in A6 biomass after 156-d fumigation. In summary, the results suggest, the timing of leaf abscission of sugar maple in fall was not modified by CO2 enrichment, the increased carbon gain by elevated CO2 was mainly due to increased leaf area, more leaves, and the continuously enhanced high photosynthesis throughout the growing season instead of the leaf life span.

Additional key words

autumnal leaf phenology biomass elevated CO2 growth late-season net photosynthesis 



400 µL L–1 CO2


600 µL L–1 CO2


800 µL L–1 CO2


continuous stirred tank reactor


leaf light-saturated net photosynthetic rate


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bamboo Research InstituteNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Stockbridge School of AgricultureUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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