Relating tree phenology with annual carbon fluxes at Tharandt forest
Niemand, Corina; Köstner, Barbara; Prasse, Heiko; Grünwald, Thomas; Bernhofer, Christian
Within climate change research vegetation plays an important role in both indicating climate change by plant phenology and mitigating climate change by carbon sequestration. A 41-year study period of phenological observations at Tharandt International Phenological Garden and an 8-year study period of continuous flux measurements of carbon dioxide above Norway spruce (Picea abies L. [Karst.]) in the Tharandt forest were used to investigate long-term trends of phenological observations concurrent with climatic trends and to assess the importance of phenological changes for annual carbon gain of the forest. It could be shown that length of growing season determined from phenology was less variable than determined from temperature levels and significantly correlated with mean annual temperature. The slight increase in the length of growing season (LGS) (0.14 d/a) resulted from an earlier onset of spring (−0.32 d/a) and of autumn phases (−0.18 d/a). Obviously, this reflected regional climatic trends with significant temperature increase in spring and slight decrease in autumn. The pronounced effect in spring is also reflected by strongest correlation of annual carbon gain with the emergence of May shoot while the correlation with LGS was less significant. It was therefore concluded that earlier emergence of May shoot was more important for annual carbon gain (22.4 gC/m2/d gross uptake) than the increase in total LGS (17.1 gC/m2/d gross uptake). However, positive effects of premature phenological stages on carbon gain may be reduced by drought effects during summer as observed for the study year 2003.