Increasing atmospheric CO2
concentration and nitrogen deposition are, among the global change related drivers, those playing a major role on forests carbon sequestration potential, affecting both their productivity and water-use efficiency. Up to now, results are however contrasting, showing that the processes underlying them are far from being fully comprehended. In this study, we adopted an innovative approach to simulate the increase of N deposition in a sessile oak forest in North-Eastern Italy, by fertilizing both from above and below the canopy. We observed the dynamics of basal area increment, intrinsic water-use efficiency and of several leaf functional traits over 4 years, to evaluate how the added nitrogen and the two different fertilization system could affect them. We were not able, however, to detect any shift, besides a common yearly variability related to a prevailing background environmental forcing. To this end, we considered as relevant factors both the short time-span of the observation and the relatively low rate of applied nitrogen. Therefore, we stress the importance of long-term, manipulative experiments to improve the understanding of the C sequestration and mitigation ability of forests in response to increased N deposition.
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