© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Carbon reserves are important for maintaining tree function during and after stress. Increasing tree mortality driven by drought globally has renewed the interest in how plants regulate allocation of recently fixed C to reserve formation. Three-year-old seedlings of two species (Tilia platyphyllos and Pinus sylvestris) were exposed to two intensities of experimental drought during ~10 weeks, and 13C pulse labelling was subsequently applied with rewetting. Tracking the 13C label across different organs and C compounds (soluble sugars, starch, myo-inositol, lipids and cellulose), together with the monitoring of gas exchange and C mass balances over time, allowed for the identification of variations in C allocation priorities and tree C balances that are associated with drought effects and subsequent drought release. The results demonstrate that soluble sugars accumulated in P. sylvestris under drought conditions independently of growth trends; thus, non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) formation cannot be simply considered a passive overflow process in this species. Once drought ceased, C allocation to storage was still prioritized at the expense of growth, which suggested the presence of ‘drought memory effects’, possibly to ensure future growth and survival. On the contrary, NSC and growth dynamics in T. platyphyllos were consistent with a passive (overflow) view of NSC formation.
- carbon isotope
- pulse labelling