Woody tissue maintenance respiration of four conifers in contrasting climates

Michael G. Ryan, Stith T. Gower, Robert M. Hubbard, Richard H. Waring, Henry L. Gholz, Wendell P. Cropper, Steven W. Running

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


We estimate maintenance respiration for boles of four temperate conifers (ponderosa pine, western hemlock, red pine, and slash pine) from CO2 efflux measurements in autumn, when construction respiration is low or negligible. Maintenance respiration of stems was linearly related to sapwood volume for all species; at 10°C, respiration per unit sapwood volume ranged from 4.8 to 8.3 μmol CO2 m-3 s-1. For all sites combined, respiration increased exponentially with temperature (Q10=1.7, r2=0.78). We estimate that maintenance respiration of aboveground woody tissues of these conifers consumes 52-162 g C m-2 y-1, or 5-13% of net daytime carbon assimilation annually. The fraction of annual net daytime carbon fixation used for stem maintenance respiration increased linearly with the average annual temperature of the site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Carbon budgets
  • Maintenance respiration
  • Temperature response
  • Woody-tissue respiration


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