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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 438930, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/438930
Research Article

Physiological Effects of Smoke Exposure on Deciduous and Conifer Tree Species

1Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
2Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

Received 1 July 2009; Revised 6 December 2009; Accepted 1 February 2010

Academic Editor: Terry L. Sharik

Copyright © 2010 W. John Calder et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Smoke from forest fires can persist in the environment for weeks and while there is a substantial amount of literature examining the effects of smoke exposure on seed germination, the effects of smoke on leaf function are nearly uninvestigated. The objective of this study was to compare growth and primary and secondary metabolic responses of deciduous angiosperm and evergreen conifer tree species to short smoke exposure. Twenty minutes of smoke exposure resulted in a greater than 50% reduction in photosynthetic capacity in five of the six species we examined. Impairment of photosynthesis in response to smoke was a function of reductions in stomatal conductance and biochemical limitations. In general, deciduous angiosperm species showed a greater sensitivity than evergreen conifers. While there were significant decreases in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance, smoke had no significant effect on growth or secondary defense compound production in any of the tree species examined.