Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Andrew J Burton


Global climate change might significantly impact future ecosystems. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate potential changes in woody plant fine root respiration in response to a changing climate. In a sugar maple dominated northern hardwood forest, the soil was experimentally warmed (+4 °C) to determine if the tree roots could metabolically acclimate to warmer soil conditions. After one and a half years of soil warming, there was an indication of slight acclimation in the fine roots of sugar maple, helping the ecosystem avoid excessive C loss to the atmosphere. In a poor fen northern peatland in northern Michigan, the impacts of water level changes on woody plant fine root respiration were investigated. In areas of increased and also decreased water levels, there were increases in the CO2 efflux from ecosystem fine root respiration. These studies show the importance of investigating further the impacts climate change may have on C balance in northern ecosystems.