Quantifying plant response to ozone: a unifying theory

Tree Physiol. 1987 Mar;3(1):63-91. doi: 10.1093/treephys/3.1.63.


Published information about the effects of ozone on plants and ecosystems is synthesized into a conceptual model to explain the response of evergreen conifers, deciduous hardwoods and agricultural crops to ambient levels of ozone pollution. The effects of ozone on carbon balance and growth of individual plants can be quantified on the basis of concentration, external dose (concentration x duration of exposure), or uptake. For an equivalent dose within a single growing season, agricultural crops are the most sensitive to ozone, with hardwoods intermediate and conifers least sensitive. In contrast, all species display a similar decline in photosynthesis and growth in response to equivalent total uptake or uptake per leaf life span, with trees somewhat less sensitive than agricultural crops on a calendar time scale, but slightly more sensitive on a relative (leaf life span) time scale. Among species, differences in ozone uptake and response can be predicted from differences in the inherent leaf diffusive conductance.