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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 53(7)

OzFACE: the Australian savanna free air CO2 enrichment facility and its relevance to carbon-cycling issues in a tropical savanna

Chris Stokes A E, Andrew Ash B, Mark Tibbett C, Joe Holtum D

A CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Savannas Management, Davies Laboratory, PMB PO Aitkenvale, Qld 4814, Australia.
B CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, 306 Carmody Rd, St Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia.
C Centre for Land Rehabilitation, School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
D James Cook University, School of Tropical Biology, Department of Tropical Plant Science, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: chris.stokes@csiro.au
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A free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) facility has recently been constructed in a tropical savanna in north-eastern Queensland, Australia. The system has a novel and cost-effective design and uses an industrial source of pure CO2 piped directly to the site. We describe the design details of this facility and assess the likely contribution it will make towards advancing our understanding of the direct impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 on savannas. These include addressing uncertainties about future shifts in the tree–grass balance and associated changes in carbon stocks, responses of C4 grasses in dry tropical environments, potential sequestration of soil carbon, and the modifications of CO2 responses by moisture and nutrient interactions. Tropical regions have been poorly represented in climate change research, and the work at the OzFACE facility will complement existing and ongoing FACE studies at temperate latitudes.

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