Effects of temperature and tissue nitrogen on dormant season stem and branch maintenance respiration in a young loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation
Summary We measured dormant season (November through February) maintenance respiration rates (Rm) in stems and branches of 9-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) growing in plots under conditions of controlled nutrient and water supply in an effort to determine the relationships between Rm and tissue size (surface area, sapwood volume, sapwood dry weight), tissue nitrogen content and temperature. Dormant season Rm per unit size (i.e., surface area, µmol m-2 s-1; sapwood volume, µmol m-3 s-1; or sapwood dry weight, nmol g-1 s-1) varied with tissue size, but was constant with respect to tissue nitrogen content (µmol mol-1 N s-1 ). Cambium temperature accounted for 61 and 77% of the variation in stem and branch respiration, respectively. The basal respiration rate (respiration at 0°C) increased with tissue nitrogen content, however, the Q10 did not. Improved nutrition more than doubled stem basal respiration rate and increased branch basal respiration by 38%. Exponential equations were developed to model stem and branch respiration as a function of cambium temperature and tissue nitrogen content. We conclude that failure to account for tissue nitrogen effects on respiration rates will result in serious errors when estimating annual maintenance costs.