Climate Change and...
- Climate Variability
- Climate Models
Effects of Climate Change
Carbon Budgets, Carbon Accounting, and Carbon Banking
ABSTRACT: High-latitude peatlands are important soil carbon sinks. In these ecosystems, the mineralization of carbon and nitrogen are constrained by low temperatures and low nutrient concentrations in plant litter and soil organic matter. Global warming is predicted to increase soil N availability for plants at high-latitude sites. We applied N fertilizer as an experimental analogue for this increase. In a three-year field experiment we studied N fertilization effects on leaf litter decomposition and N dynamics of the four dominant plant species (comprising >75% of total aboveground biomass) in a sub-arctic bog in northern Sweden. The species wereEmpetrum nigrum (evergreen shrub),Eriophorum vaginatum (graminoid),Betula nana (deciduous shrub) andRubus chamaemorus (perennial forb). In the controls, litter mass loss rates increased in the order:Empetrum <Eriophorum <Betula <Rubus . Increased N availability had variable, species-specific effects: litter mass loss rates (expressed per unit litter mass) increased inEmpetrum , did not change inEriophorum andBetula and decreased inRubus . In the leaf litter from the controls, we measured no or only slight net N mineralization even after three years. In the N-fertilized treatments we found strong net N immobilization, especially inEriophorum andBetula . This suggests that, probably owing to substantial chemical and/or microbial immobilization, additional N supply does not increase the rate of N cycling for at least the first three years.
ABSTRACT: Forests soils should be neither sinks nor sources of carbon in a long-term perspective. From a Swedish perspective the time since the last glaciation has probably not been long enough to reach a steady state, although changes are currently very slow. In a shorter perspective, climatic and management changes over the past 100 years have probably created imbalances between litter input to soils and organic carbon mineralisation. Using extant data on forest inventories, we applied models to analyse possible changes in the carbon stocks of Swedish forest soils. The models use tree stocks to provide estimates of tree litter production, which are fed to models of litter decomposition and from which carbon stocks are calculated. National soil carbon stocks were estimated to have increased by 3 Tg yr−1 or 12–13 g m−2 yr−1 in the period 1926–2000 and this increase will continue because soil stocks are far from equilibrium with current litter inputs. The figure obtained is likely to be an underestimation because wet sites store more carbon than predicted here and the inhibitory effect of nitrogen deposition on soil carbon mineralisation was neglected. Knowledge about site history prior to the calculation period determines the accuracy of current soil carbon stocks estimates, although changes can be more accurately estimated.
Akselsson, C., Berg, B., Meentemeyer, V., Westling, O. (2005). Carbon sequestration rates in organic layers of boreal and temperate forest soils — Sweden as a case study. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14 (1): 77-84
ABSTRACT:The aim of this work was to estimate C sequestration rates in the organic matter layer in Swedish forests.The region encompassed the forested area (23 × 106 ha) of Sweden ranging from about 55° N to 69° N.We used the concept of limit values to estimate recalcitrant litter remains, and combined it with amount of litter fall. Four groups of tree species were identified (pine, spruce, birch and 'other deciduous species'). Annual actual evapotranspiration (AET) was estimated for 5 × 5 km grids covering Sweden. For each grid, data of forested area and main species composition were available. The annual input of foliar litter into each grid was calculated using empirical relationships between AET and foliar litter fall in the four groups. Litter input was combined with average limit values for decomposition for the four groups of litter, based on empirical data. Finally, C sequestration rate was calculated using a constant factor of the C concentration in the litter decomposed to the limit value, thus forming soil organic matter (SOM).We obtained a value of 4.8 × 106 metric tons of C annually sequestered in SOM in soils of mature forests in Sweden, with an average of 180 kg ha−1 and a range from 40 to 410 kg ha−1 . Norway spruce forests accumulated annually an average of 200 kg C ha−1 . The pine and birch groups had an average of 150 kg ha−1 and for the group of other deciduous trees, which is limited to south Sweden, the C sequestration was around 400 kg ha−1 .There is a clear C sequestration gradient over Sweden with the highest C sequestration in the south-west, mainly corresponding to the gradient in litter fall. The limit-value method appears useful for scaling up to a regional level to describe the C sequestration in SOM. A development of the limit value approach in combination with process-orientated dynamic models may have a predictive value.
Akselsson, C., Westling, O., Sverdrup, H., Gundersen, P. (2007). Nutrient and carbon budgets in forest soils as decision support in sustainable forest management. Forest Ecology and Management 238 (1-3): 167-174
ABSTRACT: Knowledge about the nutrient and carbon budgets in forest soils is essential to maintain sustainable production, but also in several environmental issues, such as acidification, eutrophication and climate change. The budgets are strongly influenced by atmospheric deposition as well as forestry. This study demonstrates how budget calculations for nitrogen (N), carbon (C) and base cations (BC) can be used as a basis for policy decisions on a regional level in Sweden.
The study was based on existing nutrient and C budget calculations on a regional scale in Sweden. The nutrient budgets have been calculated for each square in a national 5 km × 5 km net by means of mass balances including deposition, harvest losses, leaching, weathering (BC) and fixation (N). Scenarios with different deposition and forestry intensity have been run and illustrated on maps. A simplified C budget has been estimated by multiplying the N accumulation with the C/N ratio in the organic layer, based on the assumption that the C/N ratio in the accumulating organic matter is equal to the ratio in the soil organic matter pool. The budget approaches differ from earlier budget studies since they involve regional high resolution data, combine deposition and forestry scenarios and integrate different environmental aspects.
The results indicate that whole-tree harvesting will cause net losses of N and base cations in large parts of Sweden, which means that forestry will not be sustainable unless nutrients are added through compensatory fertilization. To prevent net losses following whole-tree harvesting, compensatory fertilization of base cations would be required in almost the whole country, whereas N fertilization would be needed mainly in the northern half of Sweden. The results further suggest that today's recommendations for N fertilization should be revised in southern Sweden by applying the southwest–northeast gradient of the N budget calculations. The C and N accumulation calculations show that C sequestration in Swedish forest soils is not an effective or sustainable way to decrease the net carbon dioxide emissions. A better way is to apply whole-tree harvesting and use the branches, tops and needles as biofuel replacing fossil fuels. This could reduce the present carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels substantially.
The study shows that high resolution budget calculations that illuminate different aspects of sustainability in forest ecosystems are important tools for identifying problem areas, investigating different alternatives through scenario analyses and developing new policies. Cooperation with stakeholders increases the probability that the research will be useful
ABSTRACT: Disturbances by fire and harvesting are thought to regulate the carbon balance of the Canadian boreal forest over scales of several decades. However, there are few direct measurements of carbon fluxes following disturbances to provide data needed to refine mathematical models. The eddy covariance technique was used with paired towers to measure fluxes simultaneously at disturbed and undisturbed sites over periods of about one week during the growing season in 1998 and 1999. Comparisons were conducted at three sites: a 1-y-old burned jackpine stand subjected to an intense crown fire at the International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment site near Fort Providence, Northwest Territories; a 1-y-old clearcut aspen area at the EMEND project near Peace River, Alberta; and a 10-y-old burned, mixed forest near Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. Nearby mature forest stands of the same types were also measured as controls. The harvested site had lower net radiation (Rn), sensible (H) and latent (LE) heat fluxes, and greater ground heat fluxes (G) than the mature forest. Daytime CO2 fluxes were much reduced, but night-time CO2 fluxes were identical to that of the mature aspen forest. It is hypothesized that the aspen roots remained alive following harvesting, and dominated soil respiration. The overall effect was that the harvested site was a carbon source of about 1.6 g C m−2 day−1 , while the mature site was a sink of about −3.8 g C m−2 day−1 . The one-year-old burn had lower Rn, H and LE than the mature jackpine forest, and had a continuous CO2 efflux of about 0.8 g C m-2 day−1 compared to the mature forest sink of − 0.5 g C m−2 day−1 . The carbon source was likely caused by decomposition of fire-killed vegetation. The 10-y-old burned site had similar H, LE, and G to the mature mixed forest site. Although the diurnal amplitude of the CO2 fluxes were slightly lower at the 10-y-old site, there was no significant difference between the daily integrals (−1.3 g C m−2 day−1 at both sites). It appears that most of the change in carbon flux occurs within the first 10 years following disturbance, but more data are needed on other forest and disturbance types for the first 20 years following the disturbance event.
Ammann, C., Flechard, C.R., Leifeld, J., Neftel, A., Fuhrer, J. (2007). The carbon budget of newly established temperate grassland depends on management intensity. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 121 (1-2): 5-20
ABSTRACT: The carbon exchange of managed temperate grassland, previously converted from arable rotation, was quantified for two levels of management intensities over a period of 3 years. The original field on the Swiss Central Plateau had been separated into two plots of equal size, one plot was subjected to intensive management with nitrogen inputs of 200 kg ha−1 year−1 and frequent cutting, and the other to extensive management with no fertilization and less frequent cutting. For both plots, net CO2 exchange (NEE) was monitored by the eddy covariance technique, and the flux data were submitted to extensive quality control and gap filling procedures. Cumulative NEE was combined with values for carbon export through biomass harvests and carbon import through application of liquid manure (intensive field only) to yield the annual net carbon balance of the grassland ecosystems. The intensive management was associated with an average net carbon sequestration of 147 (±130) g C m−2 year−1 , whereas the extensive management caused a non-significant net carbon loss of 57 (+130/−110) g C m−2 year−1 . Despite the large uncertainty ranges for the two individual systems, the special design of the paired experiment led to a reduced error of the differential effect, because very similar systematic errors for both parallel fields could be assumed. The mean difference in the carbon budget over the 3-year study period was determined to be significant with a value of 204 (±110) g C m−2 year−1 . The difference occurred in spite of similar aboveground productivities and root biomass. Additional measurements of soil respiration under standardized laboratory conditions indicated higher rates of soil organic carbon loss through mineralization under the extensive management. These data suggest that conversion of arable land to managed grassland has a positive effect on the carbon balance during the initial 3 years, but only if the system receives extra nitrogen inputs to avoid carbon losses through increased mineralization of soil organic matter.
ABSTRACT: The global soil C reservoir, 1500 Gt of C (1 Gt = 1012 kg of C), is dynamic on decadal time scales and is sensitive to climate and human disturbance. At present, as a result of land use, soil C is a source of atmospheric CO2 in the tropics and possibly part of a sink in northern latitudes. Here I review the processes responsible for maintaining the global soil C reservoir and what is known about how it responds to direct and indirect human perturbations.
Ares, A., Terry, T.A., Piatek, K.B., Harrison, R.B., Miller, R.E., Flaming, B.L., Licata, C.W., Strahm, B.D., Harrington, C.A., Meade, R., Anderson, H.W., Brodie, L.C., Kraft, J.M. (2007). The Fall River long-term site productivity study in coastal Washington: Site characteristics, methods, and biomass and carbon and nitrogen stores before and after harvest. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 1-88
DESCRIPTION: The Fall River research site in coastal Washington is an affiliate installation of the North American Long-Term Soil Productivity (LTSP) network, which constitutes one of the world's largest coordinated research programs addressing forest management impacts on sustained productivity. Overall goals of the Fall River study are to assess effects of biomass removals, soil compaction, tillage, and vegetation control on site properties and growth of planted Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco). Biomass-removal treatments included removal of commercial bole (BO), bole to 5-cm top diameter (BO5), total tree (TT), and total tree plus all legacy woody debris (TT+). Vegetation control (VC) effects were tested in BO, while soil compaction and compaction plus tillage were imposed in BO+VC treatment. All treatments were imposed in 1999. The preharvest stand contained similar amounts of carbon (C) above the mineral soil (292 Mg/ha) as within the mineral soil to 80-cm depth including roots (298 Mg/ha). Carbon stores above the mineral soil ordered by size were live trees (193 Mg/ha), old-growth logs (37 Mg/ha), forest floor (27 Mg/ha), old-growth stumps and snags (17 Mg/ha), coarse woody debris (11 Mg/ha), dead trees/snags (7 Mg/ha), and understory vegetation (0.1 Mg/ha). The mineral soil to 80-cm depth contained 248 Mg C/ha, and roots added 41 Mg/ha. Total nitrogen (N) in mineral soil and roots (13 349 kg/ha) was more than 10 times the N store above the mineral soil (1323 kg/ha). Postharvest C above mineral soil decreased to 129, 120, 63, and 50 Mg/ha in BO, BO5, TT, and TT+, respectively. Total N above the mineral soil decreased to 722, 747, 414, and 353 Mg/ha in BO, BO5, TT, and TT+, respectively. The ratio of total C above the mineral soil to total C within the mineral soil was markedly altered by biomass removal, but proportions of total N stores were reduced only 3 to 6 percent owing to the large soil N reservoir on site.
ABSTRACT: (1) Organic soil-wetlands, particularly those in the temperate zone, under natural conditions, are net carbon sinks and hence are important links in the global cycling of carbon dioxide and other atmospheric gases. Human alteration of wetlands has brought about shifts in the balance of carbon movement between the wetlands and the atmosphere. Because previous analyses have not fully considered these shifts, disturbance of carbon storage in organic soil-wetlands of the temperate zone has been analysed for the last two centuries and considered in relation to other sources of atmospheric CO2 from the biosphere. (2) Storage before recent disturbance is estimated as 57 to 83 Mt of carbon per year, over two-thirds of this in boreal peatlands. The total storage rate, lower than previous estimates, reflects accumulation rates of carbon of only 0.20 t ha-1 yr-1 and less in the boreal zone where 90% of temperate organic soils are found. (3) Widespread drainage of organic soil-wetlands for agriculture has significantly altered the carbon balance. A computer model was used to track the consequent changes in the carbon balance of nine wetland regions. Drainage reduced or eliminated net carbon sinks, converting some wetlands into net carbon sources. Different regions thus can function as smaller carbon sinks, or as sources, depending on the extent of drainage. In either case a shift in carbon balance can be quantified. (4) The net carbon sink in Finland and the U.S.S.R. has been reduced by 21-33%, in Western European wetlands by nearly 50%, and in Central Europe the sink has been completely lost. Overall, by 1900 the temperate zone sink was reduced 28-38% by agricultural drainage alone. (5) By 1980 the total annual shift in carbon balance attributable to agricultural drainage was 63-85 Mt of carbon, 38% in Finland and U.S.S.R. wetlands, and 37% in Europe. Twenty-five percent of the shift occurred in North American wetlands south of the boreal zone. No apparent change occurred in boreal Canada and Alaskan wetlands. (6) Peat combustion for fuel released 32-39 Mt of carbon annually, nearly all in the U.S.S.R. A total of 590-700 Mt of carbon has been released from peat combustion since 1795, compared with a release of 4140-5600 Mt from agricultural drainage. (7) The aggregate shift in the carbon balance of temperate zone wetlands, when added to a far smaller shift from tropical wetlands, equalled 150-185 Mt of carbon in 1980 and 5711-6480 Mt since 1795. Despite occupying an area equivalent to only 2% of the world's tropical forest, the wetlands have experienced an annual shift in carbon balance 15-18% as great. Wetlands thus are seen on an area-specific basis to be concentrated sources of atmospheric CO2 which respond differently from those ecosystems assumed to have no net carbon exchange before disturbance.
Banfield, G.E., Bhatti, J.S., Jiang, H., Apps, M.J. (2002). Variability in regional scale estimates of carbon stocks in boreal forest ecosystems: results from West-Central Alberta. Forest Ecology and Management 169 (1-2): 15-27
ABSTRACT: Aboveground biomass, forest floor, and soil carbon (C) stocks were estimated for a transitional boreal region in western Alberta using available forest inventory data, model simulation, field observed plot data, and soil polygon (area averaged) information from the Canadian soil organic carbon database (CSOCD). For the three C pools investigated, model simulation provided a regional estimate, while forest inventory, plot, and soil polygon data provided an estimate of the spatial variation. These data were used to examine the variation of the C estimates, in both temporal (e.g. climate change) and spatial (e.g. soil physical characteristics) dimensions. Using the carbon budget model of the Canadian forest sector (CBM-CFS2) the regional average aboveground biomass C was estimated at 43 Mg C ha−2 , similar to the estimate from the 1994 Canadian forest inventory (50 Mg C ha−2 ). Model simulation over the period 1920–1995 elucidated the major role that disturbances (harvest, fire and insects) play in determining the C budget of the region. Decreases in stand replacing disturbances over the period resulted in an accumulation in biomass C.
Regional estimates of forest floor C using aggregated plot data, CSOCD (forested area only) data, and CBM-CFS2 simulations were in close agreement, yielding values of 2.9, 3.4 and 3.3 kg C m−2 , respectively. Regional estimates of total soil C using the three methods were more divergent (14.8, 8.3, and 15.6 kg C m−2 , respectively).
An exponential relationship between clay content and biomass for mature coniferous stand types was found (r2 = 0.68), which is reasonable considering that as a site variable, texture affects tree growth through the modification of nutrient and water availability. The relationship was used to predict the range of potential values for biomass C at maturity across the region. Forest inventories of biomass seldom provide enough data across the range of ages and stand types to develop stand growth curves that capture the variation in growth across the landscape. Consequently, growth dynamics must be inferred from a large area to provide enough biomass-to-age data, which results in a loss in the ability to use it to predict C pools and fluxes at a small scale. Using relationships between site factors (such as soil texture) and biomass C provides a means to modify inventory-based biomass-to-age relationships to assess the variation across the region as well as make predictions at a higher spatial resolution. This is relevant where both spatial extent and a finer scale are required, but site-specific biomass-to-age relationships are unavailable.
ABSTRACT: More than twice as much carbon is held in soils as in vegetation or the atmosphere, and changes in soil carbon content can have a large effect on the global carbon budget. The possibility that climate change is being reinforced by increased carbon dioxide emissions from soils owing to rising temperature is the subject of a continuing debate. But evidence for the suggested feedback mechanism has to date come solely from small-scale laboratory and field experiments and modelling studies. Here we use data from the National Soil Inventory of England and Wales obtained between 1978 and 2003 to show that carbon was lost from soils across England and Wales over the survey period at a mean rate of 0.6% yr-1 (relative to the existing soil carbon content). We find that the relative rate of carbon loss increased with soil carbon content and was more than 2% yr-1 in soils with carbon contents greater than 100 g kg-1 . The relationship between rate of carbon loss and carbon content is irrespective of land use, suggesting a link to climate change. Our findings indicate that losses of soil carbon in England and Wales—and by inference in other temperate regions—are likely to have been offsetting absorption of carbon by terrestrial sinks.
Bernoux, M., Cerri, C. C., Volkoff, B., Carvalho, M. Da Conceição S., Feller, C., Cerri, C. E. P., Eschenbrenner, V., Piccolo, M. De C., Feigl, B. (2005). Greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon storage from soil: The Brazilian inventory. Cahiers Agricultures 14 (1): 96-100
ABSTRACT: Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 have focused attention on potential CO2 emissions from terrestrial ecosystems of the world, notably from soils and biomass. The world’s mineral soils represent a large reservoir of C of about 1500 Pg C. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) each country is required to develop, update and publish a national inventories of anthropogenic emissions (implementation of the National Communications), as well as to compile the inventories by comparable methodologies. For the last point, guidelines were developed and published as IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Also, the land use, land-use changes and forestry (LULUCF) sector should be included in the national inventories. The CO2 fluxes from soils are discussed in chapter 5 for agricultural soils under the category 5D: CO2 emissions and removals from soils. These emissions are calculated from three subcategories : i) net changes in C storage in mineral soils; ii) emissions from organic soils; and iii) emissions from liming of agricultural soils. In a first step the soil organic carbon stocks up to a depth of 30 cm were estimated for Brazil based on a map of different soil-vegetation associations combined with results from a soil database. The soil-vegetation associations map was derived by intersecting soil and vegetation maps. The original soil and vegetation classification were reduced to 6 soil and 15 vegetation categories. Because this data represents sites with native vegetation in the absence of significant disturbances, it constitutes a valuable baseline for evaluating the effect of land-use change on soil C stocks for Brazil. Overall, about 36 400 million tons of carbon would be stored in the 0-30 cm soil layer under native conditions. The Brazilian Amazon region would account for 22,000 million tons. The CO2 emission from mineral soils following land-cover change in Brazil for the period 1975-1995 was estimated by Bernoux et al. who showed that the annual fluxes for Brazil indicate a net emission of CO2 to the atmosphere of 46.4 million tons of CO2 for the period 1975-1995. Intermediary calculation used to derive these annual fluxes estimated that 34 400 million tons of carbon were stored in the Brazilian soil for the year 1995. The annual CO2 emission for Brazil from liming varied from 4.9 to 9.4 million tons of CO2 per year with a mean annual CO2 emission of about 7.2 million tons. The South, Southeast and Center region accounted for a least 92% of total emission. Finally it could be calculated that the total CO2 fluxes from soils reached around 51.9 million tons of CO2 per year for the period 1975-1995.
ABSTRACT: Stands of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) cover about one million hectares of land in south-western France and produce 19% of all French timber, thanks to the intensive management methods employed. Evaluations of carbon fixation and storage in this forest are facilitated by its general homogeneity with respect to soil, climate and tree genetics. However, initial assessments were based on basic values for expansion factors and carbon concentration in the biomass, and more accurate results could be obtained.
The aim of the present study was to estimate the carbon concentration in the 13 main compartments of matureP. pinaster shoots and roots, describing sources of variation within these compartments and quantifying precisely the corresponding carbon contents.
The biomass distribution per compartment in the shoots and roots of 12 trees with a range of social status is given. It was obtained by joint architecture and dry weight measurements. The root systems were uprooted with a mechanical shovel and measured by 3D digitizing. Biomass allometric prediction equations per compartment according to girth at breast height were developed. The carbon concentration was analysed in 300 samples from four trees, taking into account their architecture.
The carbon concentration varied largely between compartments and showed a quadratic relationship with relative height in the four stem compartments and in branches and buds. It showed a negative exponential relation with root diameter. The carbon concentration of needles was not related to their age or their relative height in the crown. Carbon concentration variations were in accordance with the tissue chemical composition found in literature. The biochemical concentration of softwoods organs is extensively reviewed in the paper. The weighted mean carbon concentration reached 53.6% in the shoots and 51.7% in the roots. This resulted to 53.2% at tree level. The carbon content in the pine stand was 74 t C per hectare.
Between and within compartment variations in carbon concentration should be considered in carbon content evaluations and in structural–functional models. The underestimation of carbon storage in matureP. pinaster stands and sawnwood products reaches 6% when the usual 50% conversion factor is used.
ABSTRACT: Little is known about the contribution of arid and semiarid regions to the carbon balance at a global scale. The lack of information is especially noticeable for the Gran Chaco, which covers an area of about 1,200,000 km2 in South America. This study quantified carbon pools and their changes along a land-use gradient in the Dry Chaco, the driest portion of the Gran Chaco, measured in the aboveground biomass and in soils (20 cm depth). The work was conducted in the Chancani reserve, where the best preserved forests of the region are found, and in surrounding areas, including a primary forest, a secondary forest and shrubby grasslands. Previous works indicate that the entire area was originally covered by forests similar to those found at the Chancani reserve, and that the land-use changes occurred at least 30 years prior to this study. Total aboveground carbon stock, which comprises the total amount of living organic matter in trees and shrubs, was 30.31 Mg C ha-1 in the primary forest, which was reduced to 8.38 Mg C ha-1 in the secondary forest and to 1.37 Mg C ha-1 in shrubby grasslands. Carbon stock in the tree component decreased drastically between the primary and the secondary forests from 25.40 to 5.11 Mg C ha-1 . The component described as saplings of trees and shrubs also decreased significantly among the three communities from 4.91 Mg C ha-1 in the primary forest to 3.27 Mg C ha-1 in the secondary forest and to only 1.37 Mg C ha-1 in the shrubby grasslands. No significant differences were detected in the carbon content per unit area of soil, although it decreased from 34.59 Mg C ha-1 in the primary forest to 28.04 Mg C ha-1 in the secondary forest and to 22.93 Mg C ha-1 in the shrubby grassland, with a significant increase in soil bulk density in the disturbed communities. Therefore, differences in carbon stocks between communities were primarily the result of differences in vegetation biomass, whereas changes in the land-use gradient analyzed had a lower impact on soils. Nevertheless, soil constitutes the largest pool, and more severe ecological disturbances could lead to important changes in net carbon storage.
Bottcher, H., Freibauer, A., Obersteiner, M., Schulze, E.-D. (2008). Uncertainty analysis of climate change mitigation options in the forestry sector using a generic carbon budget model. Ecological Modelling 213 (1): 45-62
ABSTRACT: Industrialized countries agreed on a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Many countries elected forest management activities and the resulting net balance of carbon emissions and removals of non-CO2 greenhouse gases by forest management in their climate change mitigation measures. In this paper a generic dynamic forestry model (FORMICA) is presented. It has an empirical basis. Several modules trace C pools relevant for the Kyoto Protocol and beyond: biomass, litter, deadwood and soil, and harvested wood products. The model also accounts for the substitution of fossil fuels by wood products and bioenergy.
FORMICA was used to first study the model sensitivity and uncertainty based on data from Thuringia, a federal state of Germany, to determine the major sources of uncertainty in carbon accounting at different levels of carbon pool aggregation (biomass, ecosystem, forestry sector and enhanced forestry sector including the accumulated substitution effect). Rotation length and maximum increment contributed most to uncertainty in biomass. The influence of the latter did not diminish with higher level of pool aggregation. Uncertainty in the enhanced forestry sector was to a smaller degree controlled by product and substitution related parameters. Relative uncertainty decreased with the level of aggregation and comprehensiveness of the carbon budget.
In a second step the model estimated the sink potential of the Thuringian forestry sector. The projected average biomass sink for the period of 2003–2043 of 0.6 t C ha−1 year−1 could be increased by 50% by broadening the perspective to the entire forestry sector, including substitution effects. A simulation of forest conservation on 20% of the forest area increased C fixation. However, even in the biomass C pool the expected C stock changes did not exceed the estimated uncertainty of 40%. A higher level of aggregation (i.e. the inclusion of soil and litter, product pool and substitution effects) decreases relative uncertainty but also diminishes differences between different management options. The analysis demonstrates that the choice of management mitigation options under an accounting scheme should include the impacts on forest products and of substitution effects.
Botting, R. S., Fredeen, A. L. (2006). Net ecosystem CO2 exchange for moss and lichen dominated forest floors of old-growth sub-boreal spruce forests in central British Columbia, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management 235 (1-3): 240-251
ABSTRACT: This study used instantaneous chamber-based CO2 exchange measurements (2004) in conjunction with a seasonal record of microclimate (2003) to model growing season forest floor net ecosystem CO2 exchange (ffNEE) for terrestrial bryophyte and lichen communities in sub-boreal forests in central British Columbia, Canada. Multiple regression models using microclimate variables described between 35 and 53% of the variation in ffNEE for moss or lichen dominated forest floor at an ambient CO2 concentration. Light and moss or lichen moisture and temperature were all important variables in describing ffNEE from moss and lichen dominated forest floor patches while substrate temperature was the most important variable explaining ffNEE from bare litter + soil and wood. Moss dominated forest floor had relatively invariant mean diel ffNEE across the 3-month growing season while lichen dominated wood had low summer ffNEE which increased in September. Over a 3-month growing season in 2003, moss dominated forest floor had a total ffNEE of -33.8 g C m-2 and lichen dominated wood had a total ffNEE of -42.9 g C m-2 . When ffNEE values from the moss, lichen, bare wood, and bare litter + soil components of the forest floor community were summed over the 3-month period, the old-growth sub-boreal spruce forest floor had a net CO2 exchange of -31.6 g C m-2 , representing a loss of this amount of carbon over the growing season. The moss dominated, but not lichen dominated, forest floor appeared limited by ambient forest floor CO2 levels (430m mol CO2 mol-1) and exhibited increased photosynthesis at elevated CO2 (700m mol CO2 mol-1 ).
ABSTRACT: Globally, forests cover 4 billion hectares or 30% of the Earth's land surface, and 20%–40% of the forest biomass is made up of roots. Roots play a key role for trees: they take up water and nutrients from the soil, store carbon (C) compounds, and provide physical stabilization. Estimations from temperate forests of Central Europe reveal that C storage in trees accounts for about 110 t C ha−1 , of which 26 t C ha−1 is in coarse roots and 1.2 t C ha−1 is in fine roots. Compared with soil C, which is about 65 t C ha−1 (without roots), the contribution of the root C to the total belowground C pool is about 42%. Flux of C into soils by plant litter (stemwood excluded) compared with the total soil C pool, however, is relatively small (4.4 t C ha−1 year−1 ) with the coarse and fine roots each contributing about 20%. Elevated CO2 concentrations and N depositions lead to increased plant biomass, including that of roots. Recent analysis in experiments with elevated CO2 concentrations have shown increases of the forest net primary productivity by about 23%, and, in the case of poplars, an increase of the standing root biomass by about 62%. The turnover of fine roots is also positively influenced by elevated CO2 concentrations and can be increased in poplars by 25%–45%. A recently established international platform for scientists working on woody root processes, COST action E38, allows the exchange of information, ideas, and personnel, and it has the aim to identify knowledge gaps and initiate future collaborations and research activities.
ABSTRACT: This paper presents a carbon-accounting method for forests that is implementable in the sense that it makes use of observable information. The valuation of the effects of carbon dioxide is based on asset values rather than rental values. With minor differences due to the treatment of such accidents as fires and pestilence, the method corresponds to the flow method of the physical carbon-accounting literature. The stock-change method of carbon accounting, however, is incompatible with economic principles. Rather than set carbon values to their optimal levels in the Pigovian tradition we use current societal standards. We also present a discussion of how to implement the scheme in the face of uncertainty.
ABSTRACT: The interest in national terrestrial ecosystem carbon budgets has been increasing because the Kyoto Protocol has included some terrestrial carbon sinks in a legally binding framework for controlling greenhouse gases emissions. Accurate quantification of the terrestrial carbon sink must account the interannual variations associated with climate variability and change. This study used a process-based biogeochemical model and a remote sensing-based production efficiency model to estimate the variations in net primary production (NPP), soil heterotrophic respiration (HR), and net ecosystem production (NEP) caused by climate variability and atmospheric CO2 increases in China during the period 1981–2000. The results show that China's terrestrial NPP varied between 2.86 and 3.37 Gt C yr−1 with a growth rate of 0.32% year−1 and HR varied between 2.89 and 3.21 Gt C yr−1 with a growth rate of 0.40% year−1 in the period 1981–1998. Whereas the increases in HR were related mainly to warming, the increases in NPP were attributed to increases in precipitation and atmospheric CO2 . Net ecosystem production (NEP) varied between −0.32 and 0.25 Gt C yr−1 with a mean value of 0.07 Gt C yr−1 , leading to carbon accumulation of 0.79 Gt in vegetation and 0.43 Gt in soils during the period. To the interannual variations in NEP changes in NPP contributed more than HR in arid northern China but less in moist southern China. NEP had no a statistically significant trend, but the mean annual NEP for the 1990s was lower than for the 1980s as the increases in NEP in southern China were offset by the decreases in northern China. These estimates indicate that China's terrestrial ecosystems were taking up carbon but the capacity was undermined by the ongoing climate change. The estimated NEP related to climate variation and atmospheric CO2 increases may account for from 40 to 80% to the total terrestrial carbon sink in China.
Cao, M. K., Prince, S. D., Shugart, H. H. (2002). Increasing terrestrial carbon uptake from the 1980s to the 1990s with changes in climate and atmospheric CO2 . Global Biogeochemical Cycles 16 (4): 1069, doi:10.1029/2001GB001553
ABSTRACT: Atmospheric measurements suggest that the terrestrial carbon sink increased from the 1980s to the 1990s, but the causes of the increase are not well understood yet. In this study we investigated the responses of global net primary production in (NPP), soil heterotrophic respiration (HR), and net ecosystem production (NEP) to atmospheric CO2 increases and climate variation in the period 1981-1998. Our results show that the unusual climate variability in this period associated with strong warming and El Niño caused high interannual variations in terrestrial ecosystem carbon fluxes; nevertheless NPP and NEP increased consistently from the 1980s to 1990s. Annual global NPP and HR varied with a similar magnitude and contributed about equally to the interannual variations in NEP. Global NEP fluctuated between -0.64 and 1.68 Gt C yr-1 with a mean value of 0.62 Gt C yr-1 , its decadal means increased from 0.23 Gt C yr-1 in the 1980s to 1.10 Gt C yr-1 in the 1990s. Total and vegetation carbon storage increased with increases of NPP, but soil carbon storage declined because of higher HR than litter inputs. The tropics (20°N-20°S) had higher mean NEP than the north (>20°N), however, they contributed similarly to the global NEP increase from the 1980s and 1990s. Our estimated terrestrial ecosystem carbon uptake, in response to climate variation and atmospheric CO2 increase, accounted for only about 15 to 30% of the total terrestrial carbon sink but contributed 73% of its increase from the 1980s to the 1990s.
ABSTRACT: Evaluating the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global carbon cycle requires a detailed understanding of carbon exchange between vegetation, soil, and the atmosphere. Global climatic change may modify the net carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems, causing feedbacks on atmospheric CO2 and climate. We describe a model for investigating terrestrial carbon exchange and its response to climatic variation based on the processes of plant photosynthesis, carbon allocation, litter production, and soil organic carbon decomposition. The model is used to produce geographical patterns of net primary production (NPP), carbon stocks in vegetation and soils, and the seasonal variations in net ecosystem production (NEP) under both contemporary and future climates. For contemporary climate, the estimated global NPP is 57.0 Gt C y–1 , carbon stocks in vegetation and soils are 640 Gt C and 1358 Gt C, respectively, and NEP varies from –0.5 Gt C in October to 1.6 Gt C in July. For a doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration and the corresponding climate, we predict that global NPP will rise to 69.6 Gt C y–1 , carbon stocks in vegetation and soils will increase by, respectively, 133 Gt C and 160 Gt C, and the seasonal amplitude of NEP will increase by 76%. A doubling of atmospheric CO2 without climate change may enhance NPP by 25% and result in a substantial increase in carbon stocks in vegetation and soils. Climate change without CO2 elevation will reduce the global NPP and soil carbon stocks, but leads to an increase in vegetation carbon because of a forest extension and NPP enhancement in the north. By combining the effects of CO2 doubling, climate change, and the consequent redistribution of vegetation, we predict a strong enhancement in NPP and carbon stocks of terrestrial ecosystems. This study simulates the possible variation in the carbon exchange at equilibrium state. We anticipate to investigate the dynamic responses in the carbon exchange to atmospheric CO2 elevation and climate change in the past and future.
Carrasco, J., Neff, J.C., Harden, J.W. (2006). Modeling the long-term accumulation of carbon in boreal forest soils: influence of physical and chemical factors. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences
ABSTRACT: Boreal soils are important to the global C cycle owing to large C stocks, repeated disturbance from fire, and the potential for permafrost thaw to expose previously stable, buried C. To evaluate the primary mechanisms responsible for both short- and long-term C accumulation in boreal soils, we developed a multi-isotope (12, 14 C) soil C model with dynamic soil layers that develop through time as soil organic matter burns and reaccumulates. We then evaluated the mechanisms that control organic matter turnover in boreal regions including carbon input rates, substrate recalcitrance, soil moisture and temperature, and the presence of historical permafrost to assess the importance of these factors in boreal C accumulation. Results indicate that total C accumulation is controlled by the rate of carbon input, decomposition rates, and the presence of historical permafrost. However, unlike more temperate ecosystems, one of the key mechanisms involved in C preservation in boreal soils examined here is the cooling of subsurface soil layers as soil depth increases rather than increasing recalcitrance in subsurface soils. The propagation of the14 C bomb spike into soils also illustrates the importance of historical permafrost and twentieth century warming in contemporary boreal soil respiration fluxes. Both14 C and total C simulation data also strongly suggest that boreal SOM need not be recalcitrant to accumulate; the strong role of soil temperature controls on boreal C accumulation at our modeling test site in Manitoba, Canada, indicates that carbon in the deep organic soil horizons is probably relatively labile and thus subject to perturbations that result from changing climatic conditions in the future.
ABSTRACT: Recent experiments have found that Net Primary Productivity (NPP) can often be a positive saturating function of plant species and functional diversity. These findings raised the possibility that more diverse ecosystems might store more carbon as a result of increased photosynthetic inputs. However, carbon inputs will not only remain in plant biomass, but will be translocated to the soil via root exudation, fine root turnover, and litter fall. Thus, we must consider not just plant productivity (NPP), but also net productivity of the whole ecosystem (NEP), which itself measures net carbon storage. We currently know little about how plant diversity could influence soil processes that return carbon back to the atmosphere, such as heterotrophic respiration and decomposition of organic matter. Nevertheless, it is clear that any effects on such processes could make NPP a poor predictor of whole-ecosystem productivity, and potentially the ability of the ecosystem to store carbon. We examine the range of mechanisms by which plant diversity could influence net ecosystem productivity, incorporating processes involved with carbon uptake (productivity), loss (autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration), and residence time within the system (decomposition rate). Understanding the relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem carbon dynamics must be made a research priority if we wish to provide information relevant to global carbon policy decisions. This goal is entirely feasible if we utilize some basic methods for measuring the major fluxes of carbon into and out of the ecosystem.
Cerri, C.E.P., Easter, M., Paustian, K., Killian, K., Coleman, K., Bernoux, M., Falloon, P., Powlson, D.S., Batjes, N.H., Milne, E., Cerri, C.C. (2007). Predicted soil organic carbon stocks and changes in the Brazilian Amazon between 2000 and 2030. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 122 (1): 58-72
ABSTRACT: Currently we have little understanding of the impacts of land use change on soil C stocks in the Brazilian Amazon. Such information is needed to determine impacts on the global C cycle and the sustainability of agricultural systems that are replacing native forest. The aim of this study was to predict soil carbon stocks and changes in the Brazilian Amazon during the period between 2000 and 2030, using the GEFSOC soil carbon (C) modelling system. In order to do so, we devised current and future land use scenarios for the Brazilian Amazon, taking into account: (i) deforestation rates from the past three decades, (ii) census data on land use from 1940 to 2000, including the expansion and intensification of agriculture in the region, (iii) available information on management practices, primarily related to well managed pasture versus degraded pasture and conventional systems versus no-tillage systems for soybean (Glycine max) and (iv) FAO predictions on agricultural land use and land use changes for the years 2015 and 2030. The land use scenarios were integrated with spatially explicit soils data (SOTER database), climate, potential natural vegetation and land management units using the recently developed GEFSOC soil C modelling system. Results are presented in map, table and graph form for the entire Brazilian Amazon for the current situation (1990 and 2000) and the future (2015 and 2030). Results include soil organic C (SOC) stocks and SOC stock change rates estimated by three methods: (i) the Century ecosystem model, (ii) the Rothamsted C model and (iii) the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) method for assessing soil C at regional scale. In addition, we show estimated values of above and belowground biomass for native vegetation, pasture and soybean. The results on regional SOC stocks compare reasonably well with those based on mapping approaches. The GEFSOC system provided a means of efficiently handling complex interactions among biotic-edapho-climatic conditions (>363,000 combinations) in a very large area (500 Mha) such as the Brazilian Amazon. All of the methods used showed a decline in SOC stock for the period studied; Century and RothC simulated values for 2030 being about 7% lower than those in 1990. Values from Century and RothC (30,430 and 25,000 Tg for the 0–20 cm layer for the Brazilian Amazon region were higher than those obtained from the IPCC system (23,400 Tg in the 0–30 cm layer). Finally, our results can help understand the major biogeochemical cycles that influence soil fertility and help devise management strategies that enhance the sustainability of these areas and thus slow further deforestation.
Chastain, Jr., R. A., Currie, W. S., Townsend, P. A. (2006). Carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling implications of the evergreen understory layer in Appalachian forests. Forest Ecology and Management 231 (1-3): 63-77
ABSTRACT: Evergreen understory communities dominated by mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia L.) and/or rosebay rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum L.) are an important but often overlooked component of Appalachian forests. In the dense thickets in which these species often occur, they have high carbon sequestration potential and play important roles in nutrient storage and cycling. We used allometric modeling of the aboveground biomass to quantify the importance ofK. latifolia andR. maximum , relative to overstory tree species, in driving biogeochemical cycling in the Central Appalachian mountains. Carbon sequestration and nitrogen and phosphorus storage potentials were investigated by running 50-year simulations of the ecosystem accounting model NuCSS for two situations: forests comprising the canopy overstory layer with or without the evergreen understory layer. When simulating forests in several test watersheds based only on the composition and biomass of the overstory canopy, these forests contain between 1631 and 4825 kg/ha less in overall C content and 41–224 kg/ha less N content than if the evergreen understory layer is included. Additional N uptake by evergreen understory vegetation was estimated to amount to between 6 and 11 kg N ha−1 yr−1 at year 50 for the overstory-with-understory forest compared to the overstory-only forest. Vegetation pool nutrient storage was higher by 2–4% for N, and by 2–14% for P at year 50 whenR. maximum andK. latifolia were included in the model. Aboveground standing biomass ofR. maximum andK. latifolia accounted for only a modest portion of the C sequestered and N stored in the forest ecosystems at the watershed scale. In contrast, notably higher amounts of C and N were simulated as stored in the forest floor and soil pools when the understory was included. N storage predominated in the forest floor compared to the soil pool when a larger amount ofR. maximum was present in a watershed, most likely due to the larger amounts of recalcitrant litter produced annually by this species compared toK. latifolia . In addition, storage of P inK. latifolia andR. maximum exceeded expectations compared to their watershed-scale standing biomass.
Chen, J.M., Ju, W., Cihlar, J., Price, D., Liu, J., Chen, W., Pan, J., Black, A., Barr, A. (2003). Spatial distribution of carbon sources and sinks in Canada's forests.. Tellus: Series B 55 (2): 622-641
ABSTRACT: Annual spatial distributions of carbon sources and sinks in Canada's forests at 1 km resolution are computed for the period from 1901 to 1998 using ecosystem models that integrate remote sensing images, gridded climate, soils and forest inventory data. GIS-based fire scar maps for most regions of Canada are used to develop a remote sensing algorithm for mapping and dating forest burned areas in the 25 yr prior to 1998. These mapped and dated burned areas are used in combination with inventory data to produce a complete image of forest stand age in 1998. Empirical NPP age relationships were used to simulate the annual variations of forest growth and carbon balance in 1 km pixels, each treated as a homogeneous forest stand. Annual CO2 flux data from four sites were used for model validation. Averaged over the period 1990–1998, the carbon source and sink map for Canada's forests show the following features: (i) large spatial variations corresponding to the patchiness of recent fire scars and productive forests and (ii) a general south-to-north gradient of decreasing carbon sink strength and increasing source strength. This gradient results mostly from differential effects of temperature increase on growing season length, nutrient mineralization and heterotrophic respiration at different latitudes as well as from uneven nitrogen deposition. The results from the present study are compared with those of two previous studies. The comparison suggests that the overall positive effects of non-disturbance factors (climate, CO2 and nitrogen) outweighed the effects of increased disturbances in the last two decades, making Canada's forests a carbon sink in the 1980s and 1990s. Comparisons of the modeled results with tower-based eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem exchange at four forest stands indicate that the sink values from the present study may be underestimated.
Conen, F., Zerva, A., Arrouays, D., Jolivet, C., Jarvis, P.G., Grace, J., Mencuccini, M., H. Griffiths, P.G. Jarvis (2005). The carbon balance of forest soils: detectability of changes in soil carbon stocks in temperate and Boreal forests. Taylor & Francis Group: 235-249
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Dalal, R.C., Allen, D.E., Livesley, S.J., Richards, G. (2007). Magnitude and biophysical regulators of methane emission and consumption in the Australian agricultural, forest, and submerged landscapes: a review. Plant And SoilPlant Soil 309 (1-2): 43-76
ABSTRACT: Increases in the concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4 ), nitrous oxide (N2 O) due to human activities are associated with global climate change. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased by 33% (to 380 ppm) since 1750 ad, whilst CH4 concentration has increased by 75% (to 1,750 ppb), and as the global warming potential (GWP) of CH4 is 25 fold greater than CO2 it represents about 20% of the global warming effect. The purpose of this review is to: (a) address recent findings regarding biophysical factors governing production and consumption of CH4 , (b) identify the current level of knowledge regarding the main sources and sinks of CH4 in Australia, and (c) identify CH4 mitigation options and their potential application in Australian ecosystems. Almost one-third of CH4 emissions are from natural sources such as wetlands and lake sediments, which is poorly documented in Australia. For Australia, the major anthropogenic sources of CH4 emissions include energy production from fossil fuels (~24%), enteric fermentation in the guts of ruminant animals (~59%), landfills, animal wastes and domestic sewage (~15%), and biomass burning (~5%), with minor contributions from manure management (1.7%), land use, land-use change and forestry (1.6%), and rice cultivation (0.2%). A significant sink exists for CH4 (~6%) in aerobic soils, including agricultural and forestry soils, and potentially large areas of arid soils, however, due to limited information available in Australia, it is not accounted for in the Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. CH4 emission rates from submerged soils vary greatly, but mean values ≤10 mgm−2 h−1 are common. Landfill sites may emit CH4 at one to three orders of magnitude greater than submerged soils. CH4 consumption rates in non-flooded, aerobic agricultural, pastoral and forest soils also vary greatly, but mean values are restricted to ≤100μg m−2 h−1 , and generally greatest in forest soils and least in agricultural soils, and decrease from temperate to tropical regions. Mitigation options for soil CH4 production primarily relate to enhancing soil oxygen diffusion through water management, land use change, minimised compaction and soil fertility management. Improved management of animal manure could include biogas capture for energy production or arable composting as opposed to open stockpiling or pond storage. Balanced fertiliser use may increase soil CH4 uptake, reduce soil N2 O emissions whilst improving nutrient and water use efficiency, with a positive net greenhouse gas (CO2 -e) effect. Similarly, the conversion of agricultural land to pasture, and pastoral land to forestry should increase soil CH4 sink. Conservation of native forests and afforestation of degraded agricultural land would effectively mitigate CH4 emissions by maintaining and enhancing CH4 consumption in these soils, but also by reducing N2 O emissions and increasing C sequestration. The overall impact of climate change on methanogenesis and methanotrophy is poorly understood in Australia, with a lack of data highlighting the need for long-term research and process understanding in this area. For policy addressing land-based greenhouse gas mitigation, all three major greenhouse gases (CO2 , CH4 and N2 O) should be monitored simultaneously, combined with improved understanding at process-level.
ABSTRACT: Most estimates of regional and global soil carbon stocks are based on extrapolations of mean soil C contents for broad categories of soil or vegetation types. Uncertainties exist in both the estimates of mean soil C contents and the area over which each mean should be extrapolated. Geographic information systems now permit spatially referenced estimates of soil C at finer scales of resolution than were previously practical. We compared estimates of total soil C stocks of the state of Maine using three methods: (1) multiplying the area of the state by published means of soil C for temperate forests and for Spodosols; (2) calculating areas of inclusions of soil taxa in the 1:5,000,000 FAO/UNESCO Soils Map of the World and multiplying those areas by selected mean carbon contents; and (3) calculating soil C for each soil series and map unit in the 1:250,000 State Soil Geographic Data Base (STATSGO) and summing these estimates for the entire state. The STATSGO estimate of total soil C was between 23% and 49% higher than the common coarse scale extrapolations, primarily because STATSGO included data on Histosols, which cover less than 5% of the area of the state, but which constitute over one-third of the soil C. Spodosols cover about 65% of the state, but contribute less than 39% of the soil C. Estimates of total soil C in Maine based on the FAO map agreed within 8% of the STATSGO estimate for one possible matching of FAO soil taxa with data on soil C, but another plausible matching overestimated soil C stocks. We also compared estimates from the 1:250,000 STATSGO database and from the 1:20,000 Soil Survey Geographic Data Base (SSURGO) for a 7.5 minute quadrangle within the state. SSURGO indicated 13% less total soil C than did STATSGO, largely because the attribute data on depths of soil horizons in SSURGO are more specific for this locality. Despite localized differences, the STATSGO database offers promise of scaling up county soil survey data to regional scales because it includes attribute data and estimates of areal coverage of C-rich inclusions within map units. The spatially referenced data also permit examination of covariation of soil C stocks with soil properties thought to affect stabilization of soil C. Clay content was a poor predictor of soil C in Maine, but drainage class covaried significantly with soil C across the state.
de Wit, H. A., Palosuo, T., Hylen, G., Liski, J. (2006). A carbon budget of forest biomass and soils in southeast Norway calculated using a widely applicable method. Forest Ecology and Management 225 (1-3): 15-26
ABSTRACT: Growing stocks of trees in Europe have increased in a magnitude that is significant in terms of carbon (C) sink strength. Estimates of the soil C sink strength that this increased stock of trees may have induced on a regional scale are scarce, uncertain and difficult to compare. This illustrates the need for a widely applicable calculation method. Here, we calculate a C budget of productive forest in southeast Norway based on forest inventory information, biomass expansion factors (BEF), biomass turnover rates and the dynamic soil model Yasso. We estimate a 29% increase (112–145 Tg) of C in biomass between 1971 and 2000, and estimate the associated increase of C in soils (including dead wood) to be 4.5% (181–189 Tg). The C sink strengths in biomass and soils (including dead wood) in 1990 are 0.38 and 0.08 Mg ha−1 yr−1 , respectively. Estimated soil C density is 58 Mg C ha−1 or ca 40% of measured soil C density in Norwegian forest soils. A sensitivity analysis – using uncertainty estimates of model inputs and parameters based on empirical data – shows that the underestimation of the soil C stock can be due to overestimation of decomposition rates of recalcitrant organic matter in the soil model and to including only trees as a source of litter. However, uncertainty in these two factors is shown to have a minimal effect on soil sink estimates. The key uncertainty in the soil sink is the initial value of the soil C stock, i.e. the assumed steady state soil C stock at the start of the time series in 1970. However, this source of uncertainty is reduced in importance for when approaching the end of the data series. This indicates that a longer time series of forest inventory data will decrease the uncertainty in the soil sink estimate due to initialisation of the soil C stock. Other, less significant, sources of uncertainty in estimates of soil stock and sink are BEF for fine roots and turnover rates of fine roots and foliage. The used method for calculation of a forest C budget can be readily applied to other regions for which similar forest resource data are available.
ABSTRACT: Increasing the accumulation of organic carbon (C) in agricultural soils provides one means to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentrations, but detection of the relatively small changes in soil organic C is complicated by spatial variability. Soil organic C variation was assessed at various scales within a small (40 ha; 98 ac), mixed-use watershed in central Pennsylvania to determine sampling requirement for possible C credit programs. Composite soil samples (0 to 5 cm; 0 to 2 in deep) were collected on 30-m (98-ft) grid intervals across the watershed and at 10- and 0.6-m (33- and 2-ft) intervals at selected locations, and descriptive- and geo-statistical analysis utilized. Concentrations of soil organic C in pasture and forest soils were approximately two times greater than cultivated fields, where means ranged from 15 to 24 g C kg−1 (1.5 to 2.4 percent) and coefficients of variation were typically 15 to 20 percent. Soil organic C was spatially dependent over a range of approximately 200 m (660 ft) when sampled at 30-m (98-ft) intervals, and high nugget variances indicated spatially-dependent variability over lag distances shorter than 30 m (98ft). However, sampling at 10-m (33 ft) intervals appeared to adequately describe variation. Estimates of sample size requirement showed that, with the observed coefficient variances for individual fields, two- to five-fold increases in sample numbers would be required to verify statistically significant soil organic C changes ≤ 10 percent. Given the large number of samples required to provide representative measurements and the concurrent cost for labor and analysis, participation by farmers in a C credit program could be low if measured verification of soil organic C increases are required. Basing payments on modeled, rather than measured C sequestration rates, should be considered.
ABSTRACT: Management of rangelands can aid in the mitigation of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations via carbon storage in biomass and soil organic matter, a process termed carbon sequestration. Here we provide a review of current knowledge on the effects of land management practices (grazing, nitrogen inputs, and restoration) and precipitation on carbon sequestration in rangelands. Although there was no statistical relationship between change in soil carbon with longevity of the grazing management practice in native rangelands of the North American Great Plains, the general trend seems to suggest a decrease in carbon sequestration with longevity of the grazing management practice across stocking rates. The relationship of carbon sequestration to mean annual precipitation is negative for both the 0 to 10 cm (0 to 3.9 in) and 0 to 30 cm (0 to 11.8 in) soil depths across stocking rates. The threshold from positive to negative carbon change occurs at approximately 440 mm (17.3 in) of precipitation for the 0 to 10 cm soil depth and at 600 mm (23.6 in) for the 0 to 30 cm soil depth. We acknowledge that largely unexplored is the arena of management-environment interactions needed to increase our understanding of climate-plant-soil-microbial interactions as factors affecting nutrient cycling. Continued refinement of estimates of terrestrial carbon storage in rangelands will assist in the development of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon credit marketing policies, as well as potentially modifying government natural resource conservation programs to emphasize land management practices that increase carbon sequestration.
ABSTRACT: Forest systems cover more than 4.1 x 109 hectares of the Earth's land area. Globally, forest vegetation and soils contain about 1146 petagrams of carbon, with approximately 37 percent of this carbon in low-latitude forests, 14 percent in mid-latitudes, and 49 percent at high latitudes. Over two-thirds of the carbon in forest ecosystems is contained in soils and associated peat deposits. In 1990, deforestation in the low latitudes emitted 1.6 ± 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year, whereas forest area expansion and growth in mid- and high-latitude forest sequestered 0.7 ± 0.2 petagrams of carbon per year, for a net flux to the atmosphere of 0.9 ± 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year. Slowing deforestation, combined with an increase in forestation and other management measures to improve forest ecosystem productivity, could conserve or sequester significant quantities of carbon. Future forest carbon cycling trends attributable to losses and regrowth associated with global climate and land-use change are uncertain. Model projections and some results suggest that forests could be carbon sinks or sources in the future.
ABSTRACT; Using China’s ground observations, e.g., forest inventory, grassland resource, agricultural statistics, climate, and satellite data, we estimate terrestrial vegetation carbon sinks for China’s major biomes between 1981 and 2000. The main results are in the following: (1) Forest area and forest biomass carbon (C) stock increased from 116.5×106 ha and 4.3 Pg C (1 Pg C = 1015 g C) in the early 1980s to 142.8×106 ha and 5.9 Pg C in the early 2000s, respectively. Forest biomass carbon density increased form 36.9 Mg C/ha (1 Mg C = 106 g C) to 41.0 Mg C/ha, with an annual carbon sequestration rate of 0.075 Pg C/a. Grassland, shrub, and crop biomass sequestrate carbon at annual rates of 0.007 Pg C/a, 0.014–0.024 Pg C/a, and 0.0125–0.0143 Pg C/a, respectively. (2) The total terrestrial vegetation C sink in China is in a range of 0.096–0.106 Pg C/a between 1981 and 2000, accounting for 14.6%–16.1% of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emitted by China’s industry in the same period. In addition, soil carbon sink is estimated at 0.04–0.07 Pg C/a. Accordingly, carbon sequestration by China’s terrestrial ecosystems (vegetation and soil) offsets 20.8%–26.8% of its industrial CO2 emission for the study period. (3) Considerable uncertainties exist in the present study, especially in the estimation of soil carbon sinks, and need further intensive investigation in the future.
ABSTRACT: There is a general agreement that forest ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere function as significant sinks for atmospheric CO2 ; however, their magnitude and distribution remain large uncertainties. In this paper, we report the carbon (C) stock and its change of vegetation, forest floor detritus, and mineral soil, annual net biomass increment and litterfall production, and respiration of vegetation and soils between 1992 to 1994, for three temperate forest ecosystems, birch (Betula platyphylla) forest, oak (Quercus liaotungensis ) forest and pine (Pinus tabulaeformis ) plantation in Mt. Dongling, Beijing, China. We then evaluate the C budgets of these forest ecosystems. Our results indicated that total C density (organic C per hectare) of these forests ranged from 250 to 300 t C ha−1 , of which 35–54 t C ha−1 from vegetation biomass C and 209–244 t C ha−1 from soil organic C (1 m depth, including forest floor detritus). Biomass C of all three forests showed a net increase, with 1.33–3.55 t C ha−1 a−1 during the study period. Litterfall production, vegetation autotrophic respiration, and soil heterotrophic respiration were estimated at 1.63–2.34, 2.19–6.93, and 1.81–3.49 t C ha−1 a−1 , respectively. Ecosystem gross primary production fluctuated between 5.39 and 12.82 t C ha−1 a−1 , about half of which (46%–59%, 3.20–5.89 t C ha−1 a−1 ) was converted to net primary production. Our results suggested that pine forest fixed C of 4.08 t ha−1 a−1 , whereas secondary forests (birch and oak forest) were nearly in balance in CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and ecosystems.
ABSTRACT: Soils in Brazilian Amazonia may contain up to 136 Gt of carbon to a depth of 8 m, of which 47 Gt are in the top meter. The current rapid conversion of Amazonian forest to cattle pasture makes disturbance of this carbon stock potentially important to the global carbon balance and net greenhouse gas emissions. Information on the response of soil carbon pools to conversion to cattle pasture is conflicting. Some of the varied results that have been reported can be explained by effects of soil compaction, clay content and seasonal changes. Most studies have compared roughly simultaneous samples taken at nearby sites with different use histories (i.e., `chronosequences'); a clear need exists for longitudinal studies in which soil carbon stocks and related parameters are monitored over time at fixed locations. Whether pasture soils are a net sink or a net source of carbon depends on their management, but an approximation of the fraction of pastures under 'typical' and 'ideal' management practices indicates that pasture soils in Brazilian Amazonia are a net carbon source, with the upper 8 m releasing an average of 12.0 t C/ha in land maintained as pasture in the equilibrium landscape that is established in the decades following deforestation. Considering the equilibrium landscape as a whole, which is dominated by pasture and secondary forest derived from pasture, the average net release of soil carbon is 8.5 t C/ha, or 11.7x106 t C for the 1.38x106 ha cleared in 1990. Only 3% of the calculated emission comes from below 1 m depth, but the ultimate contribution from deep layers may be substantially greater. The land area affected by soil C losses under pasture is not restricted to the portion of the region maintained under pasture in the equilibrium landscape, but also the portion under secondary forests derived from pasture. Pasture effects from deforestation in 1990 represent a net committed emission from soils of 9.2x106 t C, or 79% of the total release from soils from deforestation in that year. Soil emissions from Amazonian deforestation represent a quantity of carbon approximately 20% as large as Brazil's annual emission from fossil fuels.
ABSTRACT: Forestry based carbon emissions offset projects have potential to both mitigate climate change and foster sustainable forest management. Degraded African tropical forests could sequester large amounts of additional carbon, but the lack of empirical data limits the feasibility of initiating carbon offset projects in many threatened forests. This study examines the potential to increase carbon stocks in the Kakamega National Forest of western Kenya, a threatened biodiversity hotspot and Kenya's only remaining rainforest. Carbon density values for indigenous forest and plantations were estimated based on forest inventory data from 95 randomized plots distributed throughout the forest. Total ecosystem carbon was estimated using allometric equations for tree biomass, destructive techniques for litter and herbaceous vegetation biomass, and Dumas combustion and spectroscopy for soils. Land cover maps for 1975, 1986, and 2000 were used to estimate both current carbon stocks and the influence of past land use changes. Mean carbon density in indigenous forest was 330 ± 65 Mg C/ha, greater than that of the forest's hardwood plantations (280 ± 77 Mg C/ha) and significantly greater that that of softwood plantations (250 ± 77 Mg C/ha). The distribution of carbon densities within the indigenous forest and the variation between plantation types suggest management practices could feasibly increase Kakamega's carbon stock. Deforestation between 1975 and 1986 and limited reforestation from 1986 to 2000 have resulted in a net loss of 0.4–0.6 Tg C. If this loss were reversed, the value of possible associated carbon credits dwarfs the current operational budget for managing and protecting the forest, even at low carbon prices. Additional income could help address resource needs of impoverished communities surrounding the forest and promote sustainable protection of Kakamega's high biodiversity.
Gough, C. M., Vogel, C. S., Harrold, K. H., George, K., Curtis, S. (2007). The legacy of harvest and fire on ecosystem carbon storage in a north temperate forest. Global Change Biology 13 (9): 1935-1949
ABSTRACT: Forest harvesting and wildfire were widespread in the upper Great Lakes region of North America during the early 20th century. We examined how long this legacy of disturbance constrains forest carbon (C) storage rates by quantifying C pools and fluxes after harvest and fire in a mixed deciduous forest chronosequence in northern lower Michigan, USA. Study plots ranged in age from 6 to 68 years and were created following experimental clear-cut harvesting and fire disturbance. Annual C storage was estimated biometrically from measurements of wood, leaf, fine root, and woody debris mass, mass losses to herbivory, soil C content, and soil respiration. Maximum annual C storage in stands that were disturbed by harvest and fire twice was 26% less than a reference stand receiving the same disturbance only once. The mechanism for this reduction in annual C storage was a long-lasting decrease in site quality that endured over the 62-year timeframe examined. However, during regrowth the harvested and burned forest rapidly became a net C sink, storing 0.53 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 after 6 years. Maximum net ecosystem production (1.35 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 ) and annual C increment (0.95 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 ) were recorded in the 24- and 50-year-old stands, respectively. Net primary production averaged 5.19 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 in experimental stands, increasing by < 10% from 6 to 50 years. Soil heterotrophic respiration was more variable across stand ages, ranging from 3.85 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 in the 6-year-old stand to 4.56 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 in the 68-year-old stand. These results suggest that harvesting and fire disturbances broadly distributed across the region decades ago caused changes in site quality and successional status that continue to limit forest C storage rates.
Gough, C. M., Vogel, C. S., Kazanski, C., Nagel, L., Flower, C. E., Curtis, P. S. (2007). Coarse woody debris and the carbon balance of a north temperate forest. Forest Ecology and Management 244 (1-3): 60-67
ABSTRACT: Comprehensive estimates of forest carbon (C) mass and respiration require measurements of all C pools, including coarse woody debris (CWD). We used inventory and chamber-based methods to quantify C mass and the annual respiratory C loss from CWD and other major ecosystem components for a deciduous forest in the upper Great Lakes region. Coarse woody debris mass (MCWD , 2.2 Mg C ha−1 ) was less than that of soils (104.1 Mg C ha−1 ) and boles (71.7 Mg C ha−1 ), but similar to that of leaves (1.8 Mg C ha−1 ). Coarse woody debris respiration (RCWD ) increased with temperature and water content, with differences in RCWD among decay classes due to variation in water content rather than to variable sensitivity to environmental conditions. Sensitivity of RCWD to changing temperature, evaluated as Q10 , ranged from 2.20 to 2.57 and was variable among decay classes. Annual CWD respiration (FCWD , 0.21 Mg C ha−1 year−1 ) was 12% of bole respiration, 8% of leaf respiration, and 2% of soil respiration. The CWD decomposition rate-constant (FCWD /MCWD ) in 2004 was 0.09 year−1. When compared to the average annual ecosystem C storage of 1.53 Mg C ha−1 year−1 , FCWD represents a small, but substantial flux that is expected to increase over the next several decades in this maturing forest.
Guo, L. B., Bek, E., Gifford, R. M. (2006). Woody debris in a 16-year old Pinus radiata plantation in Australia: Mass, carbon and nitrogen stocks, and turnover. Forest Ecology and Management 228 (1-3): 145-151
ABSTRACT: Woody debris that is accumulated on the forest floor could potentially be a relatively long-term carbon (C) sink in forest ecosystems. For a 16-year oldPinus radiata D. Don. plantation in Australia, we quantified the dry mass, C and nitrogen (N) stored in woody debris (including dead logs, branches and twigs) relative to the loss of soil C that followed afforestation of the native pasture onto which the plantation had been established. This debris derived mainly from forest management (thinning and pruning) 8 years earlier. The line intersect technique was used on ten 10 m × 12 m plots to estimate the mass of woody debris on the forest floor in 10 diameter classes. There was 6.1 Mg ha−1 of oven dry woody debris, containing 3.1 Mg C ha−1 and 12.9 kg N ha−1 , on the forest floor. The largest diameter class (>50 mm) contributed most of the debris’ mass. We also estimated rates of decomposition, and C and N release from the woody debris and calculated its half-life and “life time” (95% disappearance). The overall decay rate constant (k) for all woody debris was 0.069 year−1 . The overall half-life and lifetime was 10 and 43 years, respectively. Almost half (42%) of the original C in woody debris was released in the 8 years of decay, but only 12% of the original N was released. Decay rate varied with size class with the largest diameter (>50 mm) decaying the fastest, the smallest diameter class (<5 mm) decaying the second fastest, and the intermediate size-classes being the slowest to decay. Although N was slowly released from the woody debris, this pool was an effective C sink per unit-N involved because of its high C:N ratio. The C stored in the pool offset 22% of the observed soil C-stock reduction 16 years after land use change from pasture to pine plantation.
ABSTRACT: Analyses of regional carbon sources and sinks are essential to assess the economical feasibility of various carbon sequestration technologies for mitigating atmospheric CO2 accumulation and for preventing global warming. Such an inventory is a prerequisite for regional trading of CO2 emissions. As a U.S. Department of Energy Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partner, we have estimated the state-level terrestrial carbon pools in the southeast and south-central US. This region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. We have also projected the potential for terrestrial carbon sequestration in the region. Texas is the largest contributor (34%) to greenhouse gas emission in the region. The total terrestrial carbon storage (forest biomass and soils) in the southeast and south-central US is estimated to be 130 Tg C/year. An annual forest carbon sink (estimated as 76 Tg C/year) could compensate for 13% of the regional total annual greenhouse gas emission (505 Tg C, 1990 estimate). Through proper policies and the best land management practices, 54 Tg C/year could be sequestered in soils. Thus, terrestrial sinks can capture 23% of the regional total greenhouse emission and hence are one of the most cost-effective options for mitigating greenhouse emission in the region.
Hazlett, P. W., Gordon, A. M., Sibley, P. K., Buttle, J. M. (2005). Stand carbon stocks and soil carbon and nitrogen storage for riparian and upland forests of boreal lakes in northeastern Ontario. Forest Ecology and Management 219 (1): 56-68
ABSTRACT: The establishment of shoreline reserves (buffer strips) has guided riparian forest management in Ontario for many years. A riparian area is defined as the transitional zone between the aquatic and terrestrial environments and therefore is also known as the aquatic/terrestrial ecotone. While many functions of riparian forests have been recognized and well studied, less is known about their potential to sequester C and whether this potential differs from other areas in the boreal forest landscape. Increased harvesting pressure due to decreased wood supply in Ontario and debate about the effectiveness of the current reserve guidelines has resulted in a renewed interest in harvesting riparian forests. In this study riparian and upslope forest C and soil C and N storage were quantified for 21 lakes shorelines at the Esker Lakes Research Area, a boreal forest ecosystem in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Objectives were to compare the C and N storage potential of riparian forests with those of adjacent upland forests, and to examine the potential impacts of harvesting on C stocks in riparian zones of the boreal forest.
Riparian forests did not differ from upslope stands in terms of total aboveground overstory C storage although there were significant differences in stocking density and species composition. However, a greater proportion of total site C in riparian areas was stored in the overstory tree layer (>5 cm dbh) compared to upslope areas. Forest floor layers were deeper and stored more C and N in riparian forest stands in comparison to upslope stands. In contrast, mineral soil in upslope stands had greater C and N storage than mineral soil horizons within the riparian forest. As a result, the riparian organic horizons comprise a larger percentage of the overall soil storage of C and N than upslope layers. Currently practiced full-tree harvesting would result in a removal of approximately 76% of total aboveground C (17% of the ecosystem C) in upslope stands compared to 98% of total aboveground C (35% of the ecosystem C) in riparian forests. Selective or modified harvesting in riparian zones could decrease C removal to levels equal to that obtained by full-tree harvesting in upslope areas.
ABSTRACT: Accurate estimates of forest soil organic matter (OM) are now crucial to predictions of global C cycling. This work addresses soil C stocks and dynamics throughout a managed beechwood chronosequence (28–197 years old, Normandy, France). Throughout this rotation, we investigated the variation patterns of (i) C stocks in soil and humic epipedon, (ii) macro-morphological characteristics of humic epipedon, and (iii) mass, C content and C-to-N ratio in physical fractions of humic epipedon. The fractions isolated were large debris (>2000μm), coarse particular OM (cPOM, 200–2000μm), fine particular OM (fPOM, 50–200μm) and the mineral associated OM (MaOM, <50 μm).Soil C stocks remained unchanged between silvicultural phases, indicating a weak impact of this even-aged forest rotation on soil C sequestration. While humic epipedon mass and depth only slightly varied with beech development, C stocks in the holorganic layers were modified and the use of physical fractionation allowed us to discuss different aspect of quantitative and qualitative changes that occurred throughout the silvicultural rotation. Hence, changes in humic epipedon composition may be attributed to the modification of beech life-history traits with its maturation (growth vs. reproduction). Our results showed that C-POM can reached very high values (68%) in organo-mineral layers of older managed forest and that C-MaOM did not significantly change revealing the resistance of humified fractions of humic epipedon to logging and regeneration practices. C-to-N results indicated that N was probably not a limiting factor to litter degradation and explained our findings that OM did not accumulate in O horizons.This work confirms that forest harvesting and regeneration practices may have few effects on soil and humic epipedon C stocks, and that short- and long-term effects can be complex and may imply mechanisms with opposite effects.
ABSTRACT: Over two-thirds of terrestrial carbon is stored belowground and a significant amount of atmospheric CO2 is respired by roots and microbes in soils. For this analysis, soil respiration (Rs) data were assembled from 31 AmeriFlux and CarboEurope sites representing deciduous broadleaf, evergreen needleleaf, grasslands, mixed deciduous/evergreen and woodland/savanna ecosystem types. Lowest to highest rates of soil respiration averaged over the growing season were grassland and woodland/savanna < deciduous broadleaf forests < evergreen needleleaf, mixed deciduous/evergreen forests with growing season soil respiration significantly different between forested and non-forested biomes (p < 0.001). Timing of peak respiration rates during the growing season varied from March/April in grasslands to July–September for all other biomes. Biomes with overall strongest relationship between soil respiration and soil temperature were from the deciduous and mixed forests (R2 ≥ 0.65). Maximum soil respiration was weakly related to maximum fine root biomass (R2 = 0.28) and positively related to the previous years’ annual litterfall (R2 = 0.46). Published rates of annual soil respiration were linearly related to LAI and fine root carbon (R2 = 0.48, 0.47), as well as net primary production (NPP) (R2 = 0.44). At 10 sites, maximum growing season Rs was weakly correlated with annual GPP estimated from eddy covariance towersites (R2 = 0.29; p < 0.05), and annual soil respiration and total growing season Rs were not correlated with annual GPP (p > 0.1). Yet, previous studies indicate correlations on shorter time scales within site (e.g., weekly, monthly). Estimates of annual GPP from the Biome-BGC model were strongly correlated with observed annual estimates of soil respiration for six sites (R2 = 0.84; p < 0.01). Correlations from observations of Rs with NPP, LAI, fine root biomass and litterfall relate above and belowground inputs to labile pools that are available for decomposition. Our results suggest that simple empirical relationships with temperature and/or moisture that may be robust at individual sites may not be adequate to characterize soil CO2 effluxes across space and time, agreeing with other multi-site studies. Information is needed on the timing and phenological controls of substrate availability (e.g., fine roots, LAI) and inputs (e.g., root turnover, litterfall) to improve our ability to accurately quantify the relationships between soil CO2 effluxes and carbon substrate storage.
Abstract Not Available
Homann, P.S., Bormann, B.T., Boyle, J.R., Darbyshire, R.L., Bigley, R. (2008). Soil C and N minimum detectable changes and treatment differences in a multi-treatment forest experiment. Forest Ecology and Management 255 (5-6): 1724-1734
ABSTRACT: Detecting changes in forest soil C and N is vital to the study of global budgets and long-term ecosystem productivity. Identifying differences among land-use practices may guide future management. Our objective was to determine the relation of minimum detectable changes (MDCs) and minimum detectable differences between treatments (MDDs) to soil C and N variability at multiple spatial scales. The three study sites were 70–100-year-old coniferous forests in Washington and Oregon. Area- and volumetric-based soil measurements were made before implementation of 7 treatments on 2-ha experimental units, replicated in 3 or 4 blocks per site. In the absence of treatment effects, whole-site MDCs are 10% for mineral soil C and N masses and concentrations and 40% for O-horizon C and N masses. When treatment differences occur, MDDs are 40% for mineral soil and 150% for O-horizon. MDDs are reduced as much as two-thirds by evaluating change from pre- to post-treatment rather than only post-treatment values, and by pairing pre- and post-treatment measurements within small subplots. The magnitude of MDD reduction is quantitatively related to pre-treatment soil variability at multiple spatial scales, with the greatest reductions associated with the largest within-block:within-plot and within-plot:within-subplot variability ratios. These quantified benefits can be weighed against costs and challenges to make informed decisions when selecting the most appropriate sampling design.
Hossain, M.F., Zhang, Y., Chen, W., Wang, J., Pavlic, G. (2007). Soil organic carbon content in northern Canada: A database of field measurements and its analysis. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 87 (3): 259-268
ABSTRACT: Arctic and sub-arctic soils contain a large amount of organic carbon in their topsoil horizons and in the upper layers of permafrost. There is concern that climate warming could release this soil organic carbon (SOC) to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. However, information about the profile features and spatial distribution of SOC in northern ecosystems are far less than for other regions. In this study, we compiled all the available field measurements of SOC in northern Canada and developed a database. Including our recent measurements, the database contains 438 profiles with 1473 soil horizons. We analyzed the profile features and the regional patterns of SOC in northern Canada based on this database. The results show that the SOC content of subsurface soils is relatively high in northern regions because of the alternate freeze-thaw actions. In the top 100 cm of soils, 40% of the SOC is located in the 50- to 100-cm layer. The SOC content is lower in northern Arctic and in mountainous regions. The average upland SOC content in northern Canada is higher than in other world biomes (i.e., croplands, temperate forest, tropical savannas, and tropical forest) except temperate grasslands and boreal forest. Key words: Soil organic carbon, northern Canada, database, arctic and sub-arctic.
Houghton, R.A., Hobbie, J.E., Melillo, J.M., Moore, B., Peterson, B.J., Shaver, G.R., Woodwell, G.M. (1983). Changes in the carbon content of terrestrial biota and soils between 1860 and 1980: A net release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Ecological Monographs 53 (3): 235-262
ABSTRACT: Changes in land use over the past two centuries have caused a significant release of CO2 to the atmosphere from the terrestrial biota and soils. An analysis of this release is based on amounts of organic carbon within an ecosystem following changes such as harvest of forests; it is also based on rates of changes, such as conversion of forest to agriculture, deduced from agricultural and forestry statistics. A model is used to calculate the net amount of carbon stored or released each year by the biota and soils of 69 regional ecosystems. Some of the changes, such as afforestation, the growth of harvested forests, and buildup of soil organic matter, result in a storage of carbon; others, such as harvest of forests and increase in pasture and agricultural areas, result in a loss of carbon to the atmosphere. According to this analysis, there has been a net release of carbon from terrestrial ecosystems worldwide since at least 1860. Until ~1960, the annual release was greater than release of carbon from fossil fuels. The total net release of carbon from terrestrial ecosystems since 1860 is estimated to have been 180 x 1015 g (a range of estimates is 135—228 x 1015 g). The estimated net release of carbon in 1980 was 1.8—4.7 x 1015 g; for the 22 yr since 1958 the release of C was 38—76 x 1015 g. The ranges reflect the differences among various estimates of forest biomass, soil carbon, and agricultural clearing. Improvements in the data on the clearing of tropical forests alone would reduce the range of estimates for 1980 by almost 60%. Estimates of the other major terms in the global carbon budget, the atmospheric increase in CO2 , the fossil fuel release of CO2 , and the oceanic uptake of CO2 , are all subject to uncertainties. The combined errors in these estimates are large enough that the global carbon budget appears balanced if the low estimate for the biotic release of carbon given above is used (1.8 x 1015 g released in 1980) with the higher estimates of oceanic uptake. If higher estimates for biotic release are used, then the carbon budget does not balance, and the estimates of oceanic uptake or of other factors require revision.
ABSTRACT: The magnitude and location of terrestrial carbon sources and sinks remains subject to large uncertainties. Estimates of terrestrial CO2 fluxes from ground-based inventory measurements typically find less carbon uptake than inverse model calculations based on atmospheric CO2 measurements, while a wide range of results have been obtained using models of different types. However, when full account is taken of the processes, pools, time scales and geographic areas being measured, the different approaches can be understood as complementary rather than inconsistent, and can provide insight as to the contribution of various processes to the terrestrial carbon budget. For example, quantitative differences between atmospheric inversion model estimates and forest inventory estimates in northern extratropical regions suggest that carbon fluxes to soils (often not accounted for in inventories), and into non-forest vegetation, may account for about half of the terrestrial uptake. A consensus of inventory and inverse methods indicates that, in the 1980s, northern extratropical land regions were a large net sink of carbon, and the tropics were approximately neutral (albeit with high uncertainty around the central estimate of zero net flux). The terrestrial flux in southern extratropical regions was small. Book-keeping model studies of the impacts of land-use change indicated a large source in the tropics and almost zero net flux for most northern extratropical regions; similar land use change impacts were also recently obtained using process-based models. The difference between book-keeping land-use change model studies and inversions or inventories was previously interpreted as a "missing" terrestrial carbon uptake. Land-use change studies do not account for environmental or many management effects (which are implicitly included in inventory and inversion methods). Process-based model studies have quantified the impacts of CO2 fertilisation and climate change in addition to land use change, and found that these environmental effects are in the right order of magnitude to account for the "missing" terrestrial carbon uptake. Despite recent carbon losses due to fire and insect attack in Canada and Russia, the northern extratropical regions generally have been a net carbon sink, only partially due to land-use changes such as abandonment of agricultural land. In the tropics, inventory data and flux measurements in extant forests support the existence of an environmental or management sink that counterbalances the effect of deforestation. Woody encroachment in savannas may also be a significant (but as yet poorly quantified) cause of tropical carbon uptake.
ABSTRACT: Soil carbon (C) pools are not only important to governing soil properties and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems, but also play a critical role in global C cycling. Mulch and weed control treatments may alter soil C pools by changing organic matter inputs to the forest ecosystem. We studied the 12-month mulch and weed control responses on the chemical composition of soil organic C and the seasonal dynamics of water extractable organic C (WEOC), hot water extractable organic C (HWEOC), chloroform-released organic C (CHCl3-released C), and acid hydrolysed organic C (acid hydrolysable C) in a hardwood plantation of subtropical Australia. The results showed that compared with the non-mulch treatment, the mulch treatment significantly increased soil WEOC, HWEOC, and CHCl3-released C over the four sampling months. The weed control treatment significantly reduced the amount of HWEOC and CHCl3-released C compared with the no weed control treatment. Neither the mulch nor weed control treatment significantly affected soil acid hydrolysed organic C. There were no significant seasonal variations in soil WEOC, HWEOC, CHCl3-released C, and acid hydrolysed organic C in the hardwood plantation. Solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to study the structural chemistry of soil C pools in hydrofluoric acid (HF) treated soils collected 12 months after the mulch and weed control treatments were applied. Overall, O-alkyl C was the dominant C fraction, accounting for 33–43% of the total NMR signal intensity. The mulch treatment led to higher signal intensity in the alkyl C spectral region and A/O-A ratio (the ratio of alkyl C region intensity to O-alkyl C region intensity), but lower signal intensity in the aryl C and aromaticity. Compared with the no weed control treatment, the weed control treatment reduced signal intensity in the aryl C and aromaticity. Together, shifts in the amount and nature of soil C following the mulch and weed control treatments may be due to the changes in organic matter input and soil physical environment.
ABSTRACT: A central question addressed is whether emerging carbon markets have the potential to provide an economic incentive for private landholders to reforest without recourse to subsidy. A second question is whether bio-sequestration in the Wet Tropics of Queensland is cost-competitive with southern Australia. A third, given that plantations of monocultures also provide carbon sinks, is: are the goals of carbon sequestration and biodiversity mutually exclusive or complementary? Australia intends to meet its Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions target even though it has not ratified the Protocol. While a national system of carbon emission cap and trade does not exist, unilateral action by some states to mandate industry caps has generated a demand for offsets. However, it is the voluntary market for offsets, stimulated by demand by companies and government departments that is most active. The favourable climate and soils of the Wet Tropics Region of north Queensland have enabled the evolution of unique ecosystems. Deforestation of these has been greatly reduced by World Heritage listing of the Wet Tropics. Nevertheless much of the landscape remains fragmented. An official priority is the encouragement of rainforest plantations on private land with the aim of augmenting endangered ecosystems and the habitat of iconic species, but reforestation is heavily subsidised by the Australian government. Using methodology that allows the comparison of uneven streams of costs and benefits, it is found that – at present prices – payments for sequestered carbon defray only a small proportion of costs, providing a level of incentive insufficient to stimulate restoration. Comparative analysis shows that monocultures sequester carbon at a much lower price per tonne. However, despite the relatively high growth rates of monocultures in the region, their cost per tonne of carbon are greater than costs in southern Australia. A decreasing supply of suitable land for bio-sequestration offsets in southern Australia may well force brokers to look to the Wet Tropics. In this event – the economic analysis suggests – land in areas that carried endangered or threatened ecosystems will be devoted to monocultures rather than restored rainforest. The paper highlights the asymmetry between the availability of credits for carbon and of credits for biodiversity and the need for public investment in conservation and restoration. Requiring further investigation is the potential demand for carbon offsets with high biodiversity benefits – so called “boutique abatements” – that could readily be supplied in the Queensland Wet Tropics.
Hutley, L. B., Leuning, R., Beringer, J., Cleugh, H. A. (2005). The utility of the eddy covariance techniques as a tool in carbon accounting: tropical savanna as a case study. Australian Journal of Botany 53 (7): 663-675
ABSTRACT: Global concern over rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations has led to a proliferation of studies of carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Associated with this has been widespread adoption of the eddy covariance method to provide direct estimates of mass and energy exchange between vegetation surfaces and the atmosphere. With the eddy covariance method, fast-response instruments (10–20 Hz) are typically mounted above plant canopies and the fluxes are calculated by correlating turbulent fluctuations in vertical velocity with fluctuations in various scalars such as CO2 , water vapour and temperature. These techniques allow the direct and non-destructive measurement of the net exchange of CO2 owing to uptake via photosynthesis and loss owing to respiration, evapotranspiration and sensible heat. Eddy covariance measurements have a high temporal resolution, with fluxes typically calculated at 30-min intervals and can provide daily, monthly or annual estimates of carbon uptake or loss from ecosystems. Such measurements provide a bridge between ‘bottom-up’ (e.g. leaf, soil and whole plant measures of carbon fluxes) and ‘top-down’ approaches (e.g. satellite remote sensing, air sampling networks, inverse numerical methods) to understanding carbon cycling. Eddy covariance data also provide key measurements to calibrate and validate canopy- and regional-scale carbon balance models. Limitations of the method include high establishment costs, site requirements of flat and relatively uniform vegetation and problems estimating fluxes accurately at low wind speeds. Advantages include spatial averaging over 10–100 ha and near-continuous measurements. The utility of the method is illustrated in current flux studies at ideal sites in northern Australia. Flux measurements spanning 3 years have been made at a mesic savanna site (Howard Springs, Northern Territory) and semi-arid savanna (Virginia Park, northern Queensland). Patterns of CO2 and water vapour exchange at diurnal, seasonal and annual scales are detailed. Carbon dynamics at these sites are significantly different and reflect differences in climate and land management (impacts of frequent fire and grazing). Such studies illustrate the utility of the eddy covariance method and its potential to provide accurate data for carbon accounting purposes. If full carbon accounting is implemented, for ideal sites, the eddy covariance method provides annual estimates of carbon sink strength accurate to within 10%. The impact of land-use change on carbon sink strength could be monitored on a long-term basis and provide a valuable validation tool if carbon trading schemes were implemented.
Ito, A., Penner, J.E., Prather, M.J., De Campos, C.P., Houghton, R.A., Kato, T., Jain, A.K., Yang, X., Hurtt, G.C., Frolking, S., Fearon, M.G., Chini, L.P., Wang, A., Price, D.T. (2008). Can we reconcile differences in estimates of carbon fluxes from land-use change and forestry for the 1990s?. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 8 (1): 3291-3210
ABSTRACT: The effect of Land Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) on terrestrial carbon fluxes can be regarded as a carbon credit or debit under the UNFCCC, but scientific uncertainty in the estimates for LUCF remains large. Here, we assess the LUCF estimates by examining a variety of models of different types with different land cover change maps in the 1990s. Annual carbon pools and their changes are separated into different components for separate geographical regions, while annual land cover change areas and carbon fluxes are disaggregated into different LUCF activities and the biospheric response due to CO2 fertilization and climate change. We developed a consolidated estimate of the terrestrial carbon fluxes that combines book-keeping models with process-based biogeochemical models and inventory estimates and yields an estimate of the global terrestrial carbon flux that is within the uncertainty range developed in the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. We examined the USA and Brazil as case studies in order to assess the cause of differences from the UNFCCC reported carbon fluxes. Major differences in the litter and soil organic matter components are found for the USA. Differences in Brazil result from assumptions about the LUC for agricultural purposes. The effects of CO2 fertilization and climate change also vary significantly in Brazil. Our consolidated estimate shows that the small sink in Latin America is within the uncertainty range from inverse models, but that the sink in the USA is significantly smaller than the inverse models estimates. Because there are different sources of errors at the country level, there is no easy reconciliation of different estimates of carbon fluxes at the global level. Clearly, further work is required to develop data sets for historical land cover change areas and models of biogeochemical changes for an accurate representation of carbon uptake or emissions due to LUC.
ABSTRACT: Using three sets of satellite data for burned areas together with the tree cover imagery and a biogeochemical component of the Integrated Science Assessment Model (ISAM) the global emissions of CO and associated uncertainties are estimated for the year 2000. The available fuel load (AFL) is calculated using the ISAM biogeochemical model, which accounts for the aboveground and surface fuel removed by land clearing for croplands and pasturelands, as well as the influence on fuel load of various ecosystem processes (such as stomatal conductance, evapotranspiration, plant photosynthesis and respiration, litter production, and soil organic carbon decomposition) and important feedback mechanisms (such as climate and fertilization feedback mechanism). The ISAM estimated global total AFL in the year 2000 was about 687 Pg AFL. All forest ecosystems account for about 90% of the global total AFL. The estimated global CO emissions based on three global burned area satellite data sets (GLOBSCAR, GBA, and Global Fire Emissions Database version 2 (GFEDv2)) for the year 2000 ranges between 320 and 390 Tg CO. Emissions from open fires are highest in tropical Africa, primarily due to forest cutting and burning. The estimated overall uncertainty in global CO emission is about +/-65%, with the highest uncertainty occurring in North Africa and Middle East region (+/-99%). The results of this study suggest that the uncertainties in the calculated emissions stem primarily from the area burned data.
ABSTRACT: As the largest pool of terrestrial organic carbon, soils interact strongly with atmospheric composition, climate, and land cover change. Our capacity to predict and ameliorate the consequences of global change depends in part on a better understanding of the distributions and controls of soil organic carbon (SOC) and how vegetation change may affect SOC distributions with depth. The goals of this paper are (1) to examine the association of SOC content with climate and soil texture at different soil depths; (2) to test the hypothesis that vegetation type, through patterns of allocation, is a dominant control on the vertical distribution of SOC; and (3) to estimate global SOC storage to 3 m, including an analysis of the potential effects of vegetation change on soil carbon storage. We based our analysis on >2700 soil profiles in three global databases supplemented with data for climate, vegetation, and land use. The analysis focused on mineral soil layers.
Plant functional types significantly affected the vertical distribution of SOC. The percentage of SOC in the top 20 cm (relative to the first meter) averaged 33%, 42%, and 50% for shrublands, grasslands, and forests, respectively. In shrublands, the amount of SOC in the second and third meters was 77% of that in the first meter; in forests and grasslands, the totals were 56% and 43%, respectively. Globally, the relative distribution of SOC with depth had a slightly stronger association with vegetation than with climate, but the opposite was true for the absolute amount of SOC. Total SOC content increased with precipitation and clay content and decreased with temperature. The importance of these controls switched with depth, climate dominating in shallow layers and clay content dominating in deeper layers, possibly due to increasing percentages of slowly cycling SOC fractions at depth. To control for the effects of climate on vegetation, we grouped soils within climatic ranges and compared distributions for vegetation types within each range. The percentage of SOC in the top 20 cm relative to the first meter varied from 29% in cold arid shrublands to 57% in cold humid forests and, for a given climate, was always deepest in shrublands, intermediate in grasslands, and shallowest in forests (P < 0.05 in all cases). The effect of vegetation type was more important than the direct effect of precipitation in this analysis. These data suggest that shoot/root allocations combined with vertical root distributions, affect the distribution of SOC with depth.
Global SOC storage in the top 3 m of soil was 2344 Pg C, or 56% more than the 1502 Pg estimated for the first meter (which is similar to the total SOC estimates of 1500–1600 Pg made by other researchers). Global totals for the second and third meters were 491 and 351 Pg C, and the biomes with the most SOC at 1–3 m depth were tropical evergreen forests (158 Pg C) and tropical grasslands/savannas (146 Pg C).
Ju, W., Chen, J. M. (2005). Distribution of soil carbon stocks in Canada's forests and wetlands simulated based on drainage class, topography and remotely sensed vegetation parameters. Hydrological Processes 19 (1): 77-94
ABSTRACT: A quasi-three-dimensional hydrological model was developed and integrated into the integrated terrestrial ecosystem carbon-budget model (InTEC V3·0) to improve the estimation of the carbon (C) dynamics in Canadian forests and wetlands. Climate, soil, digital elevation map, and drainage class data, in conjunction with remotely sensed vegetation parameters, including leaf area index, land cover type, and stand age, are used to drive the model. Soil is divided into three layers, for which temperature and moisture dynamics are simulated. Individual 1 km × 1 km pixels are hydrologically linked with neighbouring pixels through subsurface saturated base-flow, which is simulated using a TOPMODEL-based scheme. Soil C and nitrogen (N) dynamics are simulated using the soil submodel of CENTURY suitably modified for forests and wetlands. The interannual variation in net primary productivity is iteratively computed after integrating the effects of N, climate, stand age and atmospheric CO2 concentration on productivity. Compared with data in the Soil Landscape of Canada, the newly updated InTEC V3·0 can capture 66·6% of spatial variations in soil C and effectively alleviate soil C underestimation in wetland
Dan Berggren Kleja, Magnus Svensson, Hooshang Majdi, Per-Erik Jansson, Ola Langvall, Bo Bergkvist, Maj-Britt Johansson, Per Weslien, Laimi Truusb, Anders Lindroth, Göran I. Ågren (2007). Pools and fluxes of carbon in three Norway spruce ecosystems along a climatic gradient in Sweden. Biogeochemistry 89 (1): 7-25
ABSTRACT: This paper presents an integrated analysis of organic carbon (C) pools in soils and vegetation, within-ecosystem fluxes and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in three 40-year old Norway spruce stands along a north-south climatic gradient in Sweden, measured 2001–2004. A process-orientated ecosystem model (CoupModel), previously parameterised on a regional dataset, was used for the analysis. Pools of soil organic carbon (SOC) and tree growth rates were highest at the southernmost site (1.6 and 2.0-fold, respectively). Tree litter production (litterfall and root litter) was also highest in the south, with about half coming from fine roots (<1 mm) at all sites. However, when the litter input from the forest floor vegetation was included, the difference in total litter input rate between the sites almost disappeared (190–233 g C m−2 year−1 ). We propose that a higher N deposition and N availability in the south result in a slower turnover of soil organic matter than in the north. This effect seems to overshadow the effect of temperature. At the southern site, 19% of the total litter input to the O horizon was leached to the mineral soil as dissolved organic carbon, while at the two northern sites the corresponding figure was approx. 9%. The CoupModel accurately described general C cycling behaviour in these ecosystems, reproducing the differences between north and south. The simulated changes in SOC pools during the measurement period were small, ranging from −8 g C m−2 year−1 in the north to +9 g C m−2 year−1 in the south. In contrast, NEE and tree growth measurements at the northernmost site suggest that the soil lost about 90 g C m−2 year−1 .
ABSTRACT; World soils and terrestrial ecosystems have been a source of atmospheric abundance of CO2 ever since settled agriculture began about 10–13 millennia ago. The amount of CO2 -C emitted into the atmosphere is estimated at 136 ± 55 Pg from terrestrial ecosystems, of which emission from world soils is estimated at 78 ± 12 Pg. Conversion of natural to agricultural ecosystems decreases soil organic carbon (SOC) pool by 30–50% over 50–100 years in temperate regions, and 50–75% over 20–50 years in tropical climates. The projected global warming, with estimated increase in mean annual temperature of 4–6°C by 2100, may have a profound impact on the total soil C pool and its dynamics. The SOC pool may increase due to increase in biomass production and accretion into the soil due to the so-called “CO2 fertilization effect”, which may also enhance production of the root biomass. Increase in weathering of silicates due to increase in temperature, and that of the formation of secondary carbonates due to increase in partial pressure of CO2 in soil air may also increase the total C pool. In contrast, however, SOC pool may decrease because of: (i) increase in rate of respiration and mineralization, (ii) increase in losses by soil erosion, and (iii) decrease in protective effects of stable aggregates which encapsulate organic matter. Furthermore, the relative increase in temperature projected to be more in arctic and boreal regions, will render Cryosols under permafrost from a net sink to a net source of CO2 if and when permafrost thaws. Thus, SOC pool of world soils may decrease with increase in mean global temperature. In contrast, the biotic pool may increase primarily because of the CO2 fertilization effect. The magnitude of CO2 fertilization effect may be constrained by lack of essential nutrients (e.g., N, P) and water. The potential of SOC sequestration in agricultural soils of Europe is 70–190 Tg C yr−1 . This potential is realizable through adoption of recommended land use and management, and restoration of degraded soils and ecosystems including wetlands.
R. D. Lasco, M. M. Cardinoza (2007). Baseline carbon stocks assessment and projection of future carbon benefits of a carbon sequestration project in East Timor. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 12 (2): 243-257
ABSTRACT: Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental problems humanity is facing today. Forest ecosystems serve as a source or sink of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2 . With support from the Canadian Climate Change Fund, the Community-based Natural Resource Management for Carbon Sequestration project in East Timor (CBNRM-ET) was implemented to “maintain carbon (C) stocks and increase C sequestration through the development of community-based resource management systems that will simultaneously improve livelihood security”. Project sites were in the Laclubar and Remexio Sub-districts of the Laclo watershed. The objective of this study was to quantify baseline C stocks and sequestration benefits of project components (reforestation with fast-growing species, primarilyCasuarina equisetifolia , and agroforestry involving integration ofParaserianthes falcataria ). Field measurements show that mature stands (=30 years) ofP. falcataria andC. equisetifolia contain up to 200 Mg C ha-1 in above ground biomass, indicating the vast potential of project sites to sequester carbon. Baseline C stocks in above ground biomass were very low in both Laclubar (6.2 Mg C ha-1 for reforestation sites and 5.2 Mg C ha-1 for agroforestry sites and Remexio (3.0 Mg C ha-1 for reforestation and 2.5 Mg C ha-1 for agroforestry). Baseline soil organic C levels were much higher reaching up to 160 Mg C ha-1 in Laclubar and 70 Mg C ha-1 in Remexio. For the next 25 years, it is projected that 137 671 Mg C and 84 621 Mg C will be sequestered under high- and low C stock scenarios, respectively.
ABSTRACT: Global climate change is one of the most important issues of contemporary environmental safety. A scientific consensus is forming that the emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, from anthropogenic activities may play a key role in elevating the global temperatures. Quantifying soil greenhouse gas emissions is an essential task for understanding the atmospheric impacts of anthropogenic activities in terrestrial ecosystems. In most soils, production or consumption of the three major greenhouse gases is regulated by interactions among soil redox potential, carbon source and electron acceptors. Two classical formulas, the Nernst equation and the Michaelis–Menten equation, describe the microorganism-mediated redox reactions from aspects of thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, respectively. The two equations are functions of a series of environmental factors (e.g. temperature, moisture, pH, Eh) that are regulated by a few ecological drivers, such as climate, soil properties, vegetation and anthropogenic activity. Given the complexity of greenhouse gas production in soils, process-based models are required to interpret, integrate and predict the intricate relationships among the gas emissions, the environmental factors and the ecological drivers. This paper reviews the scientific basis underlying the modeling of greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial soils. A case study is reported to demonstrate how a biogeochemical model can be used to predict the impacts of alternative management practices on greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies.
Liski, J., Lehtonen, A., Palosuo, T., Peltoniemi, M., Eggers, T., Muukkonen, P., Makipaa, R. (2006). Carbon accumulation in Finland's forests 1922-2004 - an estimate obtained by combination of forest inventory data with modelling of biomass, litter and soil. Annals of Forest Science 63 (7): 687-697
ABSTRACT: Comparable regional scale estimates for the carbon balance of forests are needed for scientific and political purposes. We developed a method for deriving these estimates from readily available forest inventory data by using statistical biomass models and dynamic modelling of litter and soil. Here, we demonstrate this method and apply it to Finland's forests between 1922 and 2004. The method was reliable, since the results obtained were comparable to independent data. The amount of carbon stored in the forests increased by 29%, 79% of which was found in the biomass and 21% in the litter and soil. The carbon balance varied annually, depending on the climate and level of harvesting, with each of these factors having effects on the biomass differing from those on the litter and soil. Our results demonstrate the importance of accounting for all forest carbon pools to avoid misleading pictures of short- and long-term forest carbon balance.
ABSTRACT: For confidently estimating the amount of carbon stored in boreal forest soil, better knowledge of smaller regions is needed. In order to estimate the amount of soil C in forests on mineral soil in Finland, i.e. excluding peatland forests, and illustrate the regional patterns of the storage, statistical models were first made for the C densities of the organic and 0–1 m mineral soil layers. A forest type, which indicated site productivity, and the effective temperature sum were used as explanatory variables of the models. In addition, a constant C density was applied for the soil layer below the depth of 1 m on sorted sediments. Using these models the C densities were calculated for a total of 46673 sites of the National Forest Inventory (NFI). The amount of the soil C was then calculated in two ways: 1) weighting the C densities of the NFI sites by the land area represented by these sites and 2) interpolating the C densities of the NFI sites for 4 ha blocks to cover the whole land area of Finland and summing up the blocks on forested mineral soil. The soil C storage totalled 1109 Tg and 1315 Tg, when calculated by the areal weighting and the interpolated blocks, respectively. Of that storage, 28% was in the organic layer, 68% in the 0–1 m mineral soil layer and 4% in the layer below 1 m. The total soil C equals more than two times the amount of C in tree biomass and 20% of the amount of C in peat in Finland. Soil C maps made using the interpolated blocks indicated that the largest soil C reserves are located in central parts of southern Finland. The C storage of the organic layer was assessed to be overestimated at largest by 13% and that of the 0–1 m mineral soil layer by 29%. The largest error in the organic layer estimate is associated with the effects of forest harvesting and in the mineral soil estimate with the stone content of the soil.
ABSTRACT: A total of 30 coniferous forest sites representing two productivity classes, forest types, were investigated on a temperature gradient (effective temperature sum using +5°C threshold 800–1300 degree-days and annual mean temperature –0.6–+3.9°C) in Finland for studying the effect of thermoclimate on the soil C storage. Other soil forming factors were standardized within the forest types so that the variation in the soil C density could be related to temperature. According to the applied regression model, the C density of the 0–1 m mineral soil layer increased 0.266 kg m–2 for every 100 degree-day increase in the temperature sum, and the layer contained 57% and 28% more C under the warmest conditions of the gradient compared to the coolest in the less and more productive forest type, respectively. Accordingly, this soil layer was estimated to contain 23 more C in a new equilibrium with a 4°C higher annual mean temperature in Finland. The C density of the organic layer was not associated with temperature. Both soil layers contained more C at the sites of the more productive forest type, and the forest type explained 36% and 70% of the variation in the C density of the organic and 0–1 m layers, respectively. Within the forest types, the temperature sum accounted for 33–41% of the variation in the 0–1 m layer. These results suggest that site productivity is a cause for the large variation inthe soil C density within the boreal zone, and relating the soil C density to site productivity and temperature would help to estimate the soil C reserves more accurately in the boreal zone.
Lloyd, J., Kolle, O., Fritsch, H., De Freitas, S. R., Dias, Mafs, Artaxo, P., Nobre, A. D., De Araujo, A. C., Kruijt, B., Sogacheva, L., Fisch, G., Thielmann, A., Kuhn, U., Andreae, M. O. (2007). An airborne regional carbon balance for Central Amazonia. Biogeosciences Discussions 4 (1): 99-123
ABSTRACT: We obtained regional estimates of surface CO2 exchange rates using atmospheric boundary layer budgeting techniques above tropical forest near Manaus, Brazil. Comparisons were made with simultaneous measurements from two eddy covariance towers below. Although there was good agreement for daytime measurements, large differences emerged for integrating periods dominated by the night-time fluxes. These results suggest that a systematic underestimation of night time respiratory effluxes may be responsible for the high Amazonian carbon sink suggested by several previous eddy covariance studies. Large CO2 fluxes from riverine sources or high respiratory losses from recently disturbed forests do not need to be invoked in order to balance the carbon budget of the Amazon. Our results do not, however, discount some contribution of these processes to the overall Amazon carbon budget.
ABSTRACT: Received for publication May 1, 2005. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are required to submit national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, together with information on methods used in estimating their emissions. Currently agricultural activities contribute a significant portion (approximately 20%) of global anthropogenic GHG emissions, and agricultural soils have been identified as one of the main GHG source categories within the agricultural sector. However, compared to many other GHG sources, inventory methods for soils are relatively more complex and have been implemented only to varying degrees among member countries. This review summarizes and evaluates the methods used by Annex 1 countries in estimating CO2 and N2 O emissions in agricultural soils. While most countries utilize the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) default methodology, several Annex 1 countries are developing more advanced methods that are tailored for specific country circumstances. Based on the latest national inventory reporting, about 56% of the Annex 1 countries use IPCC Tier 1 methods, about 26% use Tier 2 methods, and about 18% do not estimate or report N2 O emissions from agricultural soils. More than 65% of the countries do not report CO2 emissions from the cultivation of mineral soils, organic soils, or liming, and only a handful of countries have used country-specific, Tier 3 methods. Tier 3 methods usually involve process-based models and detailed, geographically specific activity data. Such methods can provide more robust, accurate estimates of emissions and removals but require greater diligence in documentation, transparency, and uncertainty assessment to ensure comparability between countries. Availability of detailed, spatially explicit activity data is a major constraint to implementing higher tiered methods in many countries.
ABSTRACT: Quantifying soil organic carbon (SOC) is important to aide in assessing carbon (C) sequestration potential, and as an indicator of soil quality. However, intensive s ampling of SOC for quantification can be expensive and time consuming. The objectives of this study were to identify which topographic index correlated best with SOC and determine if incorporating the index improved interpolation of limited SOC data. A transect with 93 sample points spaced 6 m apart was set up, and four topographical indices (curvature, wetness index, upslope length, and elevation) were evaluated for their potential as secondary variables. Three Kriging-based interpolation methods, ordinary kriging, cokriging, and simple kriging with varying local means were compared to determine if incorporating topographical indices improved interpolation of SOC. The upslope length, which takes into consideration the quantity of water that will be redistributed to a point, was found to have the strongest relationship with SOC (R2 = 0.48, P < 0.01) and was used as a secondary variable for kriging. Thirty points from the SOC data were randomly selected and used in the kriging algorithms to estimate the remain ing 63 points. The sum of squared differences (SSD) showed a significant reduction (from 1677 to 1455 for SKlm and from 1677 to 1464 for cokriging) in estimates when upslope length was used as a secondary variable. These results indicate that fewer samples may be taken to estimate SOC accurately and precisely if upslope length is incorporated. On a landscape scale this could facilitate quantification of carbon credits and management decisions in precision farming systems.
Luyssaert, S., Inglima, I., Jung, M., Richardson, A.D., Reichstein, M., Papale, D., Piao, S.L., Schulze, E. -D., Wingate, L., Matteucci, G., Aubinet, M., Beer, C., Bernhofer, C., Black, K.G., Bonal, D., Bonnefond, J. -M., Chambers, J., Ciais, P., Cook, B. (2007). CO2 balance of boreal, temperate, and tropical forests derived from a global database.. Global Change Biology 13 (12): 2509-2537
ABSTRACT: Terrestrial ecosystems sequester 2.1 Pg of atmospheric carbon annually. A large amount of the terrestrial sink is realized by forests. However, considerable uncertainties remain regarding the fate of this carbon over both short and long timescales. Relevant data to address these uncertainties are being collected at many sites around the world, but syntheses of these data are still sparse. To facilitate future synthesis activities, we have assembled a comprehensive global database for forest ecosystems, which includes carbon budget variables (fluxes and stocks), ecosystem traits (e.g. leaf area index, age), as well as ancillary site information such as management regime, climate, and soil characteristics. This publicly available database can be used to quantify global, regional or biome-specific carbon budgets; to re-examine established relationships; to test emerging hypotheses about ecosystem functioning [e.g. a constant net ecosystem production (NEP) to gross primary production (GPP) ratio]; and as benchmarks for model evaluations. In this paper, we present the first analysis of this database. We discuss the climatic influences on GPP, net primary production (NPP) and NEP and present the CO2 balances for boreal, temperate, and tropical forest biomes based on micrometeorological, ecophysiological, and biometric flux and inventory estimates. Globally, GPP of forests benefited from higher temperatures and precipitation whereas NPP saturated above either a threshold of 1500 mm precipitation or a mean annual temperature of 10 °C. The global pattern in NEP was insensitive to climate and is hypothesized to be mainly determined by nonclimatic conditions such as successional stage, management, site history, and site disturbance. In all biomes, closing the CO2 balance required the introduction of substantial biome-specific closure terms. Nonclosure was taken as an indication that respiratory processes, advection, and non-CO2 carbon fluxes are not presently being adequately accounted for.
ABSTRACT: Increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased the value of sequestration and storage of C in forests. To maximize the value of this forest function, land managers require accounting systems to track the C stored in forests and in wood and fiber products. Accounting frameworks and data for quantifying C in forests and in wood and fiber products are generally available. In contrast, C emitted from fossil fuels utilized for silvicultural activities such as site preparation or fertilization, which are designed to increase C sequestration, have not been accounted for. The fossil fuel C emissions associated with silvicultural activities must be systematically evaluated to ensure that a net positive C balance results from activities ranging from planting to harvesting. The necessary data for evaluation are compiled from existing information. Utilizing the data, total C emissions from silvicultural activities for an intensive fiber farming operation of southern pine on a 25-year rotation is estimated to be <3 Mg C ha−1 . Increased C sequestration in soil or wood and fiber products in response to silvicultural treatments is simulated for 100 years to compare to the fossil fuel C emissions from silvicultural activities. The comparison demonstrates that the expected gains in C accumulation in soils of 16 Mg ha−1 over 100 years or gains due to increased harvest for paper products, also 16 Mg ha−1 , could each individually be largely balanced by silvicultural C emissions. On the other hand, C storage in wood products due to accelerated growth of trees to a saw log category might exceed the incurred C emissions by 3-fold (i.e., 35 Mg ha−1 ). If the combined C sequestration benefits from soil C accumulation, increased C storage in paper products, and storage in saw timber products could be captured these would outweigh the fossil fuel C emissions due to increased silvicultural activities.
Mu, Q., M. Zhao, S. W. Running, M. Liu, H. Tian (2008). Contribution of increasing CO2 and climate change to the carbon cycle in China's ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 113 (G01018)
ABSTRACT: Atmospheric CO2 and China's climate have changed greatly during 1961–2000. The influence of increased CO2 and changing climate on the carbon cycle of the terrestrial ecosystems in China is still unclear. In this article we used a process-based ecosystem model, Biome-BGC, to assess the effects of changing climate and elevated atmospheric CO2 on terrestrial China's carbon cycle during two time periods: (1) the present (1961–2000) and (2) a future with projected climate change under doubled CO2 (2071–2110). The effects of climate change alone were estimated by driving Biome-BGC with a fixed CO2 concentration and changing climate, while the CO2 fertilization effects were calculated as the difference between the results driven by both increasing CO2 and changing climate and those of variable climate alone. Model simulations indicate that during 1961–2000 at the national scale, changes in climate reduced carbon storage in China's ecosystems, but increasing CO2 compensated for these adverse effects of climate change, resulting in an overall increase in the carbon storage of China's ecosystems despite decreases in soil carbon. The interannual variability of the carbon cycle was associated with climate variations. Regional differences in climate change produced differing regional carbon uptake responses. Spatially, reductions in carbon in vegetation and soils and increases in litter carbon were primarily caused by climate change in most parts of east China, while carbon in vegetation, soils, and litter increased for much of west China. Under the future scenario (2071–2110), with a doubling CO2 , China will experience higher precipitation and temperature as predicted by the Hadley Centre HadCM3 for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment. The concomitant doubling of CO2 will continue to counteract the negative effects of climate change on carbon uptake in the future, leading to an increase in carbon storage relative to current levels. This study highlights the role of CO2 fertilization in the carbon budget of China's ecosystems, although future studies should include other important processes such as land use change, human management (e.g., fertilization and irrigation), environmental pollution, etc.
Peltoniemi, M., Palosuo, T., Monni, S., Makipaa, R. (2006). Factors affecting the uncertainty of sinks and stocks of carbon in Finnish forests soils and vegetation. Forest Ecology and Management 232 (1-3): 75-85
ABSTRACT: Monitoring and transparent reporting of forest carbon sinks are currently needed under the Climate Convention. From 2005 onwards, national GHG inventories should also provide uncertainty estimates of the reported emissions and removals. Comprehensive uncertainty analysis and key category analysis of the carbon inventory can provide guidance for prioritizing efforts in further development of the inventory. In this study, the estimates of the forest carbon stock and carbon sink were obtained by combining forest inventory data, models of biomass and turnover, and a dynamic decomposition model for SOM and litter, Yasso. To study the decisive factors affecting uncertainties of forest carbon sink and stock estimates, we conducted a Monte Carlo analysis for the calculation of the forest carbon budget of Finnish forests for the period 1989–2004.
Uncertainty of the vegetation carbon sink was affected mostly by input data on growth variation and drain. Uncertainty of the soil carbon sink was dominated by the soil model initialization, but the effect decreased with time. After few years, the effect of initialization leveled with the effect of temperature and drain, both of which were given as input data to the system and which varied inter-annually. The contribution of these variables was less important to uncertainty of stocks in vegetation and soil than the contribution of model parameters. The most influential parameters for vegetation C stock were carbon density and conversion factors for tree and ground vegetation biomass, and for soil C stock, they were soil model parameters, and biomass conversion factors and turnover rates of fine roots and ground vegetation.
After short initialization period for soil C, uncertainty of soil sink can be reduced by improving the precision of input data (harvests on upland soils, annual temperature). Precision of vegetation sink can be improved mainly by improving the quality of input data on growth variation and harvests. There is an unknown error source related to inter-annual variability of the forest ecosystems, which cannot be represented with the system. Vegetation sink was compiled with biomass models that are based on long-term averages and they do not support year-to-year variations which may occur in forest ecosystems. Averaged biomass models with averaged turnover models, produce highly auto-correlated series of litter input, which result in relatively precise annual soil sink estimates. Due to these reasons, the current inventory-based approach is more justified for the estimation of average sinks for longer periods than 1 year.
Peltoniemi, M., Thürig, E., Ogle, S., Palosuo, T., Schrumpf, M., Wutzler, T., Butterbach-Bahl, K., Chertov, O., Komarov, A., Mikhailov, A., Gärdenäs, A., Perry, C., Liski, J., Smith, P., Mäkipää, R. (2007). Models in country scale carbon accounting of forest soils. Silva Fennica 41 (3): 575-602
ABSTRACT: Countries need to assess changes in the carbon stocks of forest soils as a part of national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP). Since measuring these changes is expensive, it is likely that many countries will use alternative methods to prepare these estimates. We reviewed seven well-known soil carbon models from the point of view of preparing country-scale soil C change estimates. We first introduced the models and explained how they incorporated the most important input variables. Second, we evaluated their applicability at regional scale considering commonly available data sources. Third, we compiled references to data that exist for evaluation of model performance in forest soils. A range of process-based soil carbon models differing in input data requirements exist, allowing some flexibility to forest soil C accounting. Simple models may be the only reasonable option to estimate soil C changes if available resources are limited. More complex models may be used as integral parts of sophisticated inventories assimilating several data sources. Currently, measurement data for model evaluation are common for agricultural soils, but less data have been collected in forest soils. Definitions of model and measured soil pools often differ, ancillary model inputs require scaling of data, and soil C measurements are uncertain. These issues complicate the preparation of model estimates and their evaluation with empirical data, at large scale. Assessment of uncertainties that accounts for the effect of model choice is important part of inventories estimating large-scale soil C changes. Joint development of models and large-scale soil measurement campaigns could reduce the inconsistencies between models and empirical data, and eventually also the uncertainties of model predictions
Perez, C., Roncoli, C., Neely, C., Steiner, J. L. (2007). Can carbon sequestration markets benefit low-income producers in semi-arid Africa? Potentials and challenges. Agricultural Systems 94 (1): 2-12
ABSTRACT: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change allows a country that emits C above agreed-upon limits to purchase C offsets from an entity that uses biological means to absorb or reduce greenhouse emissions. The CDM is currently offered for afforestation and reforestation projects, but may apply subsequently to sequestration in agricultural soils. Additionally, markets outside of the Protocol are developing for soil C sequestration.
In theory, C markets present win-win opportunities for buyers and sellers of C stocks. In practice, however, C markets are very complex. They presuppose the existence and integration of technical capacity to enhance C storage in production systems, the capacity for resource users to adopt and maintain land resource practices that sequester C, the ability for dealers or brokers to monitor C stocks at a landscape level, the institutional capacity to aggregate C credits, the financial mechanisms for incentive payments to reach farmers, and transparent and accountable governance structures that can ensure equitable distribution of benefits. Hence, while C payments may contribute to increasing rural incomes and promoting productivity enhancement practices, they may also expose resource users to additional social tensions and institutional risks.
ABSTRACT: Net greenhouse gas (GHG) source strength for agricultural wetland ecosystems in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is currently unknown. In particular, information is lacking to constrain spatial variability associated with GHG emissions (CH4 , CO2 , and N2 O). GHG fluxes typically vary with edaphic, hydrologic, biologic, and climatic factors. In the PPR, characteristic wetland plant communities integrate hydropedologic factors and may explain some variability associated with trace gas fluxes at ecosystem and landscape scales. We addressed this question for replicate wetland basins located in central North Dakota stratified by hydropedologic vegetation zone on Jul 12 and Aug 3, 2003. Data were collected at the soil-atmosphere interface for six plant zones: deep marsh, shallow marsh, wet meadow, low prairie, pasture, and cropland. Controlling for soil moisture and temperature, CH4 fluxes varied significantly with zone (p < 0.05). Highest CH4 emissions were found near the water in the deep marsh (277,800μg m−2 d−1 CH4 ), which declined with distance from water to − 730μg m−2 d−1 CH4 in the pasture. Carbon dioxide fluxes also varied significantly with zone. Nitrous oxide variability was greater within zones than between zones, with no significant effects of zone, moisture, or temperature. Data were extrapolated for a 205.6 km2 landscape using a previously developed synoptic classification for PPR plant communities. For this landscape, we found croplands contributed the greatest proportion to the net GHG source strength on Jul 12 (45,700 kg dd−1 GHG-C equivalents) while deep marsh zones contributed the greatest proportion on Aug 3 (26,145 kg d− 1 GHG-C equivalents). This was driven by a 30-fold reduction in cropland N2 O–N emissions between dates. The overall landscape average for each date, weighted by zone, was 462.4 kg km−2 d−1 GHG-C equivalents on Jul 12 and 314.3 kg km−2 d−1 GHG-C equivalents on Aug 3. Results suggest GHG fluxes vary with hydropedologic soil zone, particularly for CH4 , and provide initial estimates of net GHG emissions for heterogeneous agricultural wetland landscapes.
ABSTRACT: Soil organic carbon in active exchange with the atmosphere constitutes approximately two-thirds of the carbon in terrestrial ecosystems1,2 . The relatively large size and long residence time of this pool (of the order of 1,200 yr) make it a potentially important sink for carbon released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion; however, in many cases, human disturbance has caused a decrease in soil carbon storage3,4. Various recent estimates place the global total of soil carbon between 700 (ref. 2) and 2,946 x 1015 g (ref. 5) with several intermediate estimates: 1,080 (ref. 1), 1,392 (ref. 6), 1,456 (ref. 3), and 2,070 x 1015 g (ref. 7). Schlesinger's3 estimate seems to be based on the most extensive data base (200 observations, some of which are mean values derived from large studies in particular areas) and is widely cited in carbon cycle studies. In addition to estimating the world soil carbon pool, it is important to establish the relationships between the geographical distribution of soil carbon and climate, vegetation, human development and other factors as a basis for assessing the influence of changes in any of these factors on the global carbon cycle. Our analysis of 2,700 soil profiles, organized on a climate basis using the Holdridge life-zone classification system8 , indicates relationships between soil carbon density and climate, a major soil forming factor. Soil carbon density generally increases with increasing precipitation, and there is an increase in soil carbon with decreasing temperature for any particular level of precipitation. When the potential evapotranspiration equals annual precipitation, soil carbon density9 is ~10 kg m-2 , exceptions to this being warm temperate and subtropical soils. Based on recent estimates of the areal extent of major ecosystem complexes9,10 which correspond well with climatic life zones, the global soil organic carbon pool is estimated to be 1,395 x 1015 g.
Post, W. M., R. C. Izaurralde, J.D. Jastrow, B. A. McCarl, J. E. Amonette, V. L. Bailey, P. M. Jardine, T. O. West, J. Zhou (2004). Enhancement of carbon sequestration in US Soils. BioScience 54 (10): 895-908
ABSTRACT: Improved practices in agriculture, forestry, and land management could be used to increase soil carbon and thereby significantly reduce the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Understanding biological and edaphic processes that increase and retain soil carbon can lead to specific manipulations that enhance soil carbon sequestration. These manipulations, however, will only be suitable for adoption if they are technically feasible over large areas, economically competitive with alternative measures to offset greenhouse gas emissions, and environmentally beneficial. Here we present the elements of an integrated evaluation of soil carbon sequestration methods.
Poth, M., Anderson, I. C., Miranda, H. S., Miranda, A. C., Riggan, P. J. (1995). The magnitude and persistence of soil NO, N2 O, CH4 , and CO2 fluxes from burned tropical savanna in Brazil. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 9 (4): 503-513
ABSTRACT: Among all global ecosystems, tropical savannas are the most severely and extensively affected by anthropogenic burning. Frequency of fire in cerrado, a type of tropical savanna covering 25% of Brazil, is 2 to 4 years. In 1992 we measured soil fluxes of NO, N2 O, CH4 , and CO2 from cerrado sites that had been burned within the previous 2 days, 30 days, 1 year, and from a control site last burned in 1976. NO and N2 O fluxes responded dramatically to fire with the highest fluxes observed from newly burned soils after addition of water. Emissions of N-trace gases after burning were of similar magnitude to estimated emissions during combustion. NO fluxes immediately after burning are among the highest observed for any ecosystem studied to date. These rates declined with time after burning and had returned to control levels 1 year after the burn. An assessment of our data suggested that tropical savanna, burned or unburned, is a major source of NO to the troposphere. Cerrado appeared to be a minor source of N2 O and a sink for atmospheric CH4 . Burning also elevated CO2 fluxes, which remained detectably elevated 1 year later.
Potter, C., Klooster, S., Namani, R., Genovese, V., Hiatt, S., Field, M., Fladenland, M., Gross, P. (2006). Estimating carbon budgets for U.S. ecosystems. EOS Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 87 (8): 85-90
ABSTRACT: On a global basis, plants and soils may hold more than twice the amount of carbon present in the atmosphere [Geider et al., 2001]. Under increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentrations and subsequently warming temperatures, these large biogenic pools may change in size [Cox et al., 2000]. Due to a lack of long-term field studies, there is uncertainty as to whether vegetation and soils will act as a net sink or a source of atmospheric CO2 in coming years. It is certain, however, that no retrospective analysis of the U.S. carbon balance will be possible without a comprehensive historical baseline of the sizes of various ecosystem carbon pools and the variability in their net annual increments. This article provides one of the first spatially detailed terrestrial carbon budgets for the regions of the continental United States in the 1980s and 1990s. At a resolution of less than 10 kilometers, this carbon accounting estimation includes major vegetation and surface soil pools and is based on remote sensing and vegetation-soil modeling for ecosystems.
Potter, C.S., Klooster, S.A. (1997). Global model estimates of carbon and nitrogen storage in litter and soil pools: response to changes in vegetation quality and biomass allocation. Tellus: Series B 49 (1): 1-17
ABSTRACT: Changes in plant production, structure, and tissue composition are primary drivers for terrestrial biogeochemistry under future environmental conditions. Consequently, there is a need for process-oriented assessment of the potential global importance of vegetation controls over extended periods of C and N sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, plant litter quality (lignin content) and carbon allocation to woody tissues are used as surrogates for testing the hypothetical effects of vegetation change on C and N cycles. We tested the CASA (Carnegie-Ames-Stanford approach) biosphere model, which uses global gridded (1°) satellite imagery on a monthly time interval to simulate seasonal patterns in net ecosystem carbon balance and near steady-state C/N storage in detritus and soils. Under contemporary "reference" settings, combined organic matter storage (litter plus surface soil to c. 30 cm depth) for C and N is estimated highest in tropical and boreal forest ecosystem zones, and in cultivated ecosystems. The worldwide C:N ratio (by weight) for standing litter plus surface soil organic matter (SOM) is estimated at 23. About 14% of the projected global pool of 1327 Pg (1015 g) soil C resides in "modern" form, in the sense that this proportion is in near-steady state exchange with plant production and decomposition on time scales of several decades. Likewise, about 12% of the projected global pool of 104 Pg soil N is in modern form. Sensitivity tests treated litter quality and allocation effects independently from other direct effects of changes in climate, atmospheric CO2 levels, and primary production. For forested ecosystems, the model predicts that a hypothetical 50% decrease in litter lignin concentration would result in a long-term net loss of about 10% C from surface litter and soil organic matter pools. A 50% decrease in C allocation to woody tissues would invoke approximately the same net loss of C as a 50% decrease in litter lignin. With respect to nitrogen, the 50% downward adjustment in litter allocation to woody tissues may increase both the estimated net N mineralization rates and SLOW N pool by approximately 9% on a global basis. This pattern is consistent with an overall increase in N available for cycling, which is affected by the fraction of relatively N-poor to N-rich litter inputs. For comparison to the effects of these surrogate changes in vegetation tissue composition, model response to a globally uniform increase in surface air temperature of 1 °C is a net loss of 5% C from litter and SOM pools.
ABSTRACT: The potential for sustainable agricultural practices to sequester C is substantial. The economic feasibility and competitiveness of soil C sequestration depends on the opportunity cost per tonne of C stored. The key issue is whether the cost is competitive with alternative methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The high spatial variability in land productivity means that the soil characteristics are important when designing public policies to address this issue. Empirical evidence suggests that the opportunity cost per tonne of C stored can be as low as US$10 to US$25 t-1 (Can$12–30), but that for the majority of temperate agriculture it exceeds US$50 t-1 (Can$60). The final monetary value placed on a tonne reduction of C will emerge either from the establishment of a fully functioning market or from government payment schemes. Estimates of the value of stored C have ranged from US$100 t-1 (Can$120) to a low of less than US$5 t-1 (Can$6). Current evidence suggests a likely price in the lower region of this range.
Rayner, P. J., Scholze, M., Knorr, W., Kaminski, T., Giering, R., Widmann, H. (2005). Two decades of terrestrial carbon fluxes from a carbon cycle data assimilation system (CCDAS). Global Biogeochemical Cycles 19 (2)
ABSTRACT: This paper presents the space-time distribution of terrestrial carbon fluxes for the period 1979–1999 generated by a terrestrial carbon cycle data assimilation system (CCDAS). CCDAS is based around the Biosphere Energy Transfer Hydrology model. We assimilate satellite observations of photosynthetically active radiation and atmospheric CO2 concentration observations in a two-step process. The control variables for the assimilation are the parameters of the carbon cycle model. The optimized model produces a moderate fit to the seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2 concentration and a good fit to its interannual variability. Long-term mean fluxes show large uptakes over the northern midlatitudes and uptakes over tropical continents partly offsetting the prescribed efflux due to land use change. Interannual variability is dominated by the tropics. On interannual timescales the controlling process is net primary productivity (NPP) while for decadal changes the main driver is changes in soil respiration. An adjoint sensitivity analysis reveals that uncertainty in long-term storage efficiency of soil carbon is the largest contributor to uncertainty in net flux.
ABSTRACT: Three separate research efforts conducted in the same wetland-peatland system in the northern Hudson Bay Lowland near the town of Churchill, Manitoba, allow a comparison of two carbon budget estimates, one derived from long-term growth rates of organic soil and the other based on shorter-term flux measurements. For a tundra fen and an open subarctic forest, calculations of organic soil accumulation or loss over the last half-century indicate that while the fen on average has lost small amounts of carbon from the ecosystem, the adjacent forest has gained larger amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. These longer-term data are supported by shorter-term flux measurements and estimates, which also show carbon loss by the fen and carbon uptake by the forest. The shorter-term data indicate that the fen's carbon loss is largely attributable to exceptionally dry years, especially if they are warm. The forest may gain carbon at an increased rate as it matures and during warm growing seasons. Also, the changes in relief of the dynamic hummock-hollow landscape in the fen may inhibit photosynthesis.
Schmid, S., Thurig, E., Kaufmann, E., Lischke, H., Bugmann, H. (2006). Effect of forest management on future carbon pools and fluxes: A model comparison. Forest Ecology and Management 237 (1-3): 65-82
ABSTRACT: Currently, there is a strong demand for estimates of the current and potential future carbon sequestration in forests, the role of management practices, and the temporal duration of biotic carbon sinks. Different models, however, lead to different projections. Model comparisons allow us to assess the range of potential ecosystem responses, and they facilitate the detection of the strengths and weaknesses of particular models. In this study, the empirical, individual-based forest models MASSIMO, the semi-empirical individual-based forest models SILVA – both combined with the soil model YASSO – and the process-based, biogeochemical model Biome-BGC were used to assess the above- and belowground carbon pools and net fluxes of several forested regions in Switzerland for the next 100 years under four different management scenarios: (1) the current harvest amounts were used, (2) harvest was intensified by reducing the amount of large tree dimensions, (3) harvest was reduced to a minimum by only maintaining the protection function in mountain forests and avoiding pests and diseases, and (4) harvest was adjusted to achieve maximum sustainable growth. The results show that the three models projected similar patterns of net carbon fluxes. The models estimated that in the absence of large-scale disturbances the forest biomass and soil carbon can be increased, particularly under scenario 2, and therefore, forests can be used as carbon sinks. These sinks were estimated to last for a maximum of 100 years. Differences between the management scenarios depend on the time period considered: either net carbon fluxes are maximized at a short term (30–40 years) or at a longer term (100 years or more). In contrast to the similar carbon fluxes, some carbon pools projected by the models differed strongly. These differences in model behaviour can be attributed to model-specific responses to the strongly heterogeneous Swiss climate conditions and to different model assumptions. To find the optimum strategy in terms of not only maximizing carbon sequestration but climate protection, it is essential to account for wood-products and particularly substitution of fossil fuel in the model simulations.
Scott, D. T., Baisden, W. T., Davies-Colley, R., Gomez, B., Hicks, D. M., Page, M. J., Preston, N. J., Trustrum, N. A., Tate, K. R., Woods, R. A. (2006). Localized erosion affects national carbon budget. Geophysical Research Letters 33 (L01402): doi:10.1029/2005GL024644
ABSTRACT: Small mountainous rivers discharge disproportionate amounts of sediment and carbon to the Earth's oceans. Our New Zealand data demonstrates that localized erosion plays a greater role in C budgets than has been recognized in national and global studies. We estimate that New Zealand's rivers export 4 ± 1 Mg C km−2 yr−1 of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and 10 ± 3 Mg C km−2 yr−1 of particulate organic carbon (POC) (2 and 6 times the global average), which is equivalent to 40% of New Zealand's fossil fuel emissions. Under intact native vegetation in mountain-belt hot spots, POC export greatly exceeds CO2 consumption from mineral weathering. Moreover, deforestation of fertile steepland greatly accelerates POC loss, evidenced by 1.7% of New Zealand's land area which generates 20% of exported POC. Thus, localized erosion deserves increased attention in C budgets and accounting.
ABSTRACT; Development trends of Russian forests and their impact on the global carbon budget were assessed at the national level on the basis of long-term forest inventory data (1961–1998). Over this period, vegetation of Russian forest lands are estimated as a carbon sink, with an annual average level of carbon sequestration in vegetational organic matter of 210 ± 30 Tg C · yr–1 (soil carbon is not considered in this study), of which 153 Tg C · yr–1 were accumulated in live biomass and 57 Tg C · yr–1 in dead wood. The temporal variability of the sink is very large; for the five-year averages used in the analysis, the C sequestration varies from about 60 to above 300 Tg C· yr–1 . It is shown that long-term forest inventory data could serve as an important information base for assessing crucial indicators of full carbon accounting of forests.
Sierra, C. A., del Valle, J. I., Orrego, S. A., Moreno, F. H., Harmon, M. E., Zapata, M., Colorado, G. J., Herrera, M. A., Lara, W., Restrepo, D. E., Berrouet, L. M., Loaiza, L. M., Benjumea, J. F. (2007). Total carbon stocks in a tropical forest landscape of the Porce region, Colombia. Forest Ecology and Management 243 (2-3): 299-309
ABSTRACT: Detailed ground-based quantifications of total carbon stocks in tropical forests are few despite their importance in science and ecosystem management. Carbon stocks in live aboveground and belowground biomass, necromass, and soils were measured in a heterogeneous landscape composed of secondary and primary forest. A total of 110 permanent plots were used to estimate the size of these carbon pools. Local biomass equations were developed and used to estimate aboveground biomass and coarse root biomass for each plot. Herbaceous vegetation, fine roots, coarse and fine litter, and soil carbon to 4 m depth were measured in subplots. In primary forests, mean total carbon stocks (TCS) were estimated as 383.7 ± 55.5 Mg C ha−1 (±S.E.). Of this amount, soil organic carbon to 4 m depth represented 59%, total aboveground biomass 29%, total belowground biomass 10%, and necromass 2%. In secondary forests, TCS was 228.2 ± 13.1 Mg C ha−1 , and soil organic carbon to 4 m depth accounted for 84% of this amount. Total aboveground biomass represented only 9%, total belowground biomass 5%, and total necromass 1% of TCS in secondary forests. Monte Carlo methods were used to assess the uncertainty of the biomass measurements and spatial variation. Of the total uncertainty of the estimates of TCS, the variation associated with the spatial variation of C pools between plots was higher than measurement errors within plots. From this study it is concluded that estimates of aboveground biomass largely underestimate total carbon stocks in forest ecosystems. Additionally, it is suggested that heterogeneous landscapes impose additional challenges for their study such as sampling intensity.
Tate, K. R., Scott, N. A., Parshotam, A., Brown, L., Wilde, R. H., Giltrap, D. J., Trustrum, N. A., Gomez, B., Ross, D. J. (2000). A multi-scale analysis of a terrestrial carbon budget: Is New Zealand a source or sink of carbon?. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 82 (1-3): 229-246
ABSTRACT: Interest in national carbon (C) budgets has increased following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol as countries begin to develop source/sink C inventories. In this study, specific-site measurements, regional databases, satellite observations, and models were used to test the hypothesis that New Zealand’s terrestrial ecosystems are C neutral because C uptake by planted forests and scrub is roughly balanced by C losses from indigenous forests and soils.
Net ecosystem C balance was estimated from the difference between net primary production (NPP) and heterotrophic soil respiration. The productivity portion of the CASA model and NOAA–AVHRR imagery were used to estimate national NPP (128±14 Mt C per year). Main sources of uncertainty were the coarse spatial scale (1×1 km2 grid cells), and the general lack of information on photosynthetically active radiation, light-use efficiency, and below-ground C allocation for the major vegetation types: indigenous and exotic forests, scrub, and grasslands (improved, unimproved and tussock). Total soil CO2 -C production predicted from an Arrhenius-type function coupled to climate and land-cover data was 380±30 MtC per year, suggesting that New Zealand’s terrestrial ecosystems may be either (a) a net source of atmospheric CO2 or (b) roughly in C balance if ca. 252 Mt CO2 -C per year (66%) can be attributed to roots. Soil moisture limitations on respiration were small, reducing the national value to 365±28 MtC per year. Differences between NPP and heterotrophic soil respiration were −29 Mt C per year for improved pastures, −8 Mt C per year for indigenous forests, and +4 Mt C per year for planted forests; the large negative value for improved grasslands may be due to under-estimation of NPP and root respiration. Soil C losses to coastal waters, as estimated from a consideration of all the major erosion processes, were ca. 3–11 Mt C per year.
These national-scale estimates of ecosystem C balance were in general agreement with those based on plot-scale data for some major ecosystems including planted forests (4 Mt C per year vs 3.7 Mt C per year, respectively) and indigenous forest (−8 Mt C per year vs ca. −2.8 Mt C per year, respectively). Poor agreement for forest regenerating after land abandonment (−17 Mt C per year vs +3 Mt C per year) was probably due to an underestimate of NPP at the national scale.
Overall, the results suggest that New Zealand is a net C source, despite the fact that some ecosystems are accumulating C. For some land-use types, using the balance between NPP and soil respiration at the national scale to estimate the net ecosystem C balance may be too coarse, and studies of land-use changes at finer spatial scales are needed to reduce uncertainties in national-scale C balance estimates.
Tate, K. R., Wilde, R. H., Giltrap, D. J., Baisden, W. T., Saggar, S., Trustrum, N. A., Scott, N. A., Barton, J. R. (2005). Soil organic carbon stocks and flows in New Zealand: System development, measurement and modelling. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 85 (4): 481-489
ABSTRACT: An IPCC-based Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) was developed to monitor soil organic C stocks and flows to assist New Zealand to achieve its CO2 emissions reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. Geo-referenced soil C data from 1158 sites (0.3 m depth) were used to assign steady-state soil C stocks to various combinations of soil class, climate, and land use. Overall, CMS soil C stock estimates are consistent with detailed, stratified soil C measurements at specific sites and over larger regions. Soil C changes accompanying land-use changes were quantified using a national set of land-use effects (LUEs). These were derived using a General Linear Model to include the effects of numeric predictors (e.g., slope angle). Major uncertainties a rise from estimates of changes in the areas involved, the assumption that soil C is at steady state for all land-cover types, and lack of soil C data for some LUEs. Total national soil organic C stocks estimated using the LUEs for 0–0.1, 0.1–0.3, and 0.3–1 m depths were 1300 ± 20, 1590 ± 30, and 1750 ± 70 Tg, respectively. Most soil C is stored in grazing lands (1480 ± 60 Tg to 0.3 m depth), which appear to be at or near steady state; their conversion to exotic forests and shrubland contributed most to the predicted national soil C loss of 0.6 ± 0.2 Tg C yr-1 during 1990–2000. Predicted and measured soil C changes for the grazing-forestry conversion agreed closely. Other uncertainties in our current soil CMS include: spatially integrated annual changes in soil C for the major land-use changes, lack of soil C change estimates below 0.3 m, C losses from erosion, the contribution of agricultural management of organic soils, and a possible interaction between land use and our soil-climate classification. Our approach could be adapted for use by other countries with land-use-change issues that differ from those in the IPCC default methodology. Key words: Soil organic carbon, land-use change, stocks, flows, measurement, modelling, IPCC
Thompson, J. A., Kolka, R. K. (2005). Soil carbon storage estimation in a forested watershed using Quantitative soil-landscape modeling.. Soil Science Society Of America JournalSoil Sci So 69 (4): 1086-1093
ABSTRACT: Carbon storage in soils is important to forest ecosystems. Moreover, forest soils may serve as important C sinks for ameliorating excess atmospheric CO2 . Spatial estimates of soil organic C (SOC) storage have traditionally relied upon soil survey maps and laboratory characterization data. This approach does not account for inherent variability within map units, and often relies on incomplete, unrepresentative, or biased data. Our objective was to develop soil-landscape models that quantify relationships between SOC and topographic variables derived from digital elevation models. Within a 1500-ha watershed in eastern Kentucky, the amount of SOC stored in the soil to a depth of 0.3 m was estimated using triplicate cores at each node of a 380-m grid. We stratified the data into four aspect classes and used robust linear regression to generate empirical models. Despite low coefficients of correlation between measured SOC and individual terrain attributes, we developed and validated models that explain up to 71% of SOC variability using three to five terrain attributes. Mean SOC content in the upper 30 cm, as predicted from our models, is 5.3 kg m–2 , compared with an estimate of 2.9 kg m–2 from soil survey data. Total SOC storage in the upper 30 cm within the entire watershed is 82.0 Gg, compared with an estimate of 44.8 Gg from soil survey data. A soil-landscape modeling approach may prove useful for future SOC spatial modeling because it incorporates the continuous variability of SOC across landscapes and may be transportable to similar landscapes.
ABSTRACT: Carbon sequestered in biomass is not necessarily stored infinitely, but is exposed to human or natural disturbances. Storm is the most important natural disturbance agent in Swiss forests. Therefore, if forests are taken into account in the national carbon budget, the impact of windthrow on carbon pools and fluxes should be included. In this article the forest scenario model MASSIMO and the soil carbon model YASSO were applied to assess the effect of forest management and an increased storm activity on the carbon sequestration in Swiss forests. First, the soil model was adapted to Swiss conditions and validated. Second, carbon fluxes were assessed applying the two models under various forest management scenarios and storm frequencies. In particular, the influence of clearing after a storm event on the carbon budget was analyzed. The evaluation of the model results showed that the soil model reliably reproduces the amount of soil carbon at the test sites. The simulation results indicated that, within the simulated time period of 40 years, forest management has a strong influence on the carbon budget. However, forest soils only react slightly to changes in the above-ground biomass. The results also showed that a storm frequency increase of 30% has a small impact on the national carbon budget of forests. To develop effective mitigation strategies for forest management, however, longer time periods must be regarded.
ABSTRACT: We used a spatially nested hierarchy of field and remote-sensing observations and a process model, Biome-BGC, to produce a carbon budget for the forested region of Oregon, and to determine the relative influence of differences in climate and disturbance among the ecoregions on carbon stocks and fluxes. The simulations suggest that annual net uptake (net ecosystem production (NEP)) for the whole forested region (8.2 million hectares) was 13.8 Tg C (168 g C m−2 yr−1 ), with the highest mean uptake in the Coast Range ecoregion (226 g C m−2 yr−1 ), and the lowest mean NEP in the East Cascades (EC) ecoregion (88 g C m−2 yr−1 ). Carbon stocks totaled 2765 Tg C (33 700 g C m−2 ), with wide variability among ecoregions in the mean stock and in the partitioning above- and belowground. The flux of carbon from the land to the atmosphere that is driven by wildfire was relatively low during the late 1990s (~0.1 Tg C yr−1 ), however, wildfires in 2002 generated a much larger C source (~4.1 Tg C). Annual harvest removals from the study area over the period 1995–2000 were ~5.5 Tg C yr−1 . The removals were disproportionately from the Coast Range, which is heavily managed for timber production (approximately 50% of all of Oregon's forest land has been managed for timber in the past 5 years). The estimate for the annual increase in C stored in long-lived forest products and land fills was 1.4 Tg C yr−1 . Net biome production (NBP) on the land, the net effect of NEP, harvest removals, and wildfire emissions indicates that the study area was a sink (8.2 Tg C yr−1 ). NBP of the study area, which is the more heavily forested half of the state, compensated for ~52% of Oregon's fossil carbon dioxide emissions of 15.6 Tg C yr−1 in 2000. The Biscuit Fire in 2002 reduced NBP dramatically, exacerbating net emissions that year. The regional total reflects the strong east–west gradient in potential productivity associated with the climatic gradient, and a disturbance regime that has been dominated in recent decades by commercial forestry.
Van Miegroet, H., Moore, P.T., Tewksbury, C.E., Nicholas, N.S. (2007). Carbon sources and sinks in high-elevation spruce-fir forests of the Southeastern US. Forest Ecology and Management 238 (1-3): 249-260
ABSTRACT: This paper examines carbon (C) pools, fluxes, and net ecosystem balance for a high-elevation red spruce–Fraser fir forest [Picea rubens Sarg./Abies fraseri (Pursh.) Poir.] in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), based on measurements in fifty-four 20 m × 20 m permanent plots located between 1525 and 1970 m elevation. Forest floor and mineral soil C was determined from destructive sampling of the O horizon and incremental soil cores (to a depth of 50 cm) in each plot. Overstory C pools and net C sequestration in live trees was estimated from periodic inventories between 1993 and 2003. The CO2 release from standing and downed wood was based on biomass and C concentration estimates and published decomposition constants by decay class and species. Soil respiration was measured in situ between 2002 and 2004 in a subset of eight plots along an elevation gradient. Litterfall was collected from a total of 16 plots over a 2–5-year period.
The forest contained on average 403 Mg C ha−1 , almost half of which stored belowground. Live trees, predominantly spruce, represented a large but highly variable C pool (mean: 126 Mg C ha−1 , CV = 39%); while dead wood (61 Mg C ha−1 ), mostly fir, accounted for as much as 15% of total ecosystem C. The 10-year mean C sequestration in living trees was 2700 kg C ha−1 year−1 , but increased from 2180 kg C ha−1 year−1 in 1993–1998 to 3110 kg C ha−1 year−1 in 1998–2003, especially at higher elevations. Dead wood also increased during that period, releasing on average 1600 kg C ha−1 year−1 . Estimated net soil C efflux ranged between 1000 and 1450 kg C ha−1 year−1 , depending on the calculation of total belowground C allocation. Based on current flux estimates, this old-growth system was close to C neutral.
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to estimate the contribution of drained organic forestlands in Sweden to the national greenhouse gas budget. Drained organic forestland in Sweden collectively comprises an estimated net sink for greenhouse gases of −5.0 Mt carbon dioxide (CO2 ) equivalents year −1 (range −12.0 to 1.2) when default emission factors provided by the Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change and forestry are used, and an estimated net source of 0.8 Mt CO2 equivalents year−1 (range −6.7 to 5.1) when available emission data for the climatic zones spanned by Sweden are used. This discrepancy is mainly due to differences in the emission factors for heterotrophic respiration. The main uncertainties in the estimates are related to carbon changes in the litter pool and releases of soil CO2 and nitrous oxide.
ABSTRACT: A new model, FORPROD, for estimating the carbon stored in forest products, considers both the manufacture of the raw logs into products and the fate of the products during use and disposal. Data for historical patterns of harvest, manufacturing efficiencies, and product use and disposal were used for estimating the accumulation of carbon in Oregon and Washington forest products from 1900 to 1992. Pools examined were long- and short-term structures, paper supplies, mulch, open dumps, and landfills. The analysis indicated that of the 1,692 Tg of carbon harvested during the selected period, only 396 Tg, or 23%, is currently stored. Long-term structures and landfills contain the largest fraction of that store, holding 74% and 20%, respectively. Landfills currently have the highest rates of accumulation, but total landfill stores are relatively low because they have been used only in the last 40 years. Most carbon release has occurred during manufacturing, 45% to 60% lost to the atmosphere, depending upon the year. Sensitivity analyses of the effects of recycling, landfill decomposition, and replacement rates of long-term structures indicate that changing these parameters by a factor of two changes the estimated fraction of total carbon stored less than 2%.
Smithwick, E. A. H., M.E. Harmon, J.B. Domingo (2007). Changing temporal patterns of forest carbon stores and net ecosystem carbon balance: the stand to landscape transformation. Landscape Ecology 22 (1): 77-94
ABSTRACT: Short- and long-term patterns of net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) for small, relatively uniform forest stands have been examined in detail, but the same is not true for landscapes, especially those with heterogeneous disturbance histories. In this paper, we explore the effect of two contrasting types of disturbances (i.e., fire and tree harvest) on landscape level NECB by using an ecosystem process model that explicitly accounts for changes in carbon (C) stores as a function of disturbance regimes. The latter were defined by the average disturbance interval, the regularity of the disturbance interval (i.e., random, based on a Poisson frequency distribution, or regular), the amount of C removed by the disturbance (i.e., severity), and the relative abundance of stands in the landscape with unique disturbance histories. We used the model to create over 300 hypothetical landscapes, each with a different disturbance regime, by simulating up to 200 unique stand histories and averaging their total C stores. Mean NECB and its year-to-year variability was computed by calculating the difference in mean total C stores from one year to the next. Results indicated that landscape C stores were higher for random than for regular disturbance intervals, and increased as the mean disturbance interval increased and as the disturbance severity decreased. For example, C storage was reduced by 58% when the fire interval was shortened from 250 years to 100 years. Average landscape NECB was not significantly different than zero for any of the simulated landscapes. Year-to-year variability in landscape NECB, however, was related to the landscape disturbance regime; increasing with disturbance severity and frequency, and higher for random versus regular disturbance intervals. We conclude that landscape C stores of forest systems can be predicted using the concept of disturbance regimes, a result that may be a useful for adjusting estimates of C storage to broad scales that are solely based on physiological processes.
Smithwick, E. A. H., M.G. Ryan, D.M. Kashian, W.H. Romme, D.B. Tinker, M.G. Turner (2008). Modeling the effects of fire and climate change on carbon and nitrogen storage in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ) stands. Global Change Biology 15 (3): 535-548
ABSTRACT: The interaction between disturbance and climate change and resultant effects on ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes are poorly understood. Here, we model (using CENTURY version 4.5) how climate change may affect C and N fluxes among mature and regenerating lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var.latifolia Engelm . ex S. Wats.) stands that vary in postfire tree density following stand-replacing fire. Both young (postfire) and mature stands had elevated forest production and net N mineralization under future climate scenarios relative to current climate. Forest production increased 25% [Hadley (HAD)] to 36% [Canadian Climate Center (CCC)], compared with 2% under current climate, among stands that varied in stand age and postfire density. Net N mineralization increased under both climate scenarios, e.g., +19% to 37% (HAD) and +11% to 23% (CCC), with greatest increases for young stands with sparse tree regeneration. By 2100, total ecosystem carbon (live+dead+soils) in mature stands was higher than prefire levels, e.g., +16% to 19% (HAD) and +24% to 28% (CCC). For stands regenerating following fire in 1988, total C storage was 0–9% higher under the CCC climate model, but 5–6% lower under the HAD model and 20–37% lower under the Control. These patterns, which reflect variation in stand age, postfire tree density, and climate model, suggest that although there were strong positive responses of lodgepole pine productivity to future changes in climate, C flux over the next century will reflect complex relationships between climate, age structure, and disturbance-recovery patterns of the landscape.
ABSTRACT: Carbon allocation plays a critical role in forest ecosystem carbon cycling. We reviewed existing literature and compiled annual carbon budgets for forest ecosystems to test a series of hypotheses addressing the patterns, plasticity, and limits of three components of allocation: biomass, the amount of material present; flux, the flow of carbon to a component per unit time; and partitioning, the fraction of gross primary productivity (GPP) used by a component.Can annual carbon flux and partitioning be inferred from biomass? Our survey revealed that biomass was poorly related to carbon flux and to partitioning of photosynthetically derived carbon, and should not be used to infer either.Are component fluxes correlated? Carbon fluxes to foliage, wood, and belowground production and respiration all increased linearly with increasing GPP (a rising tide lifts all boats). Autotrophic respiration was strongly linked to production for foliage, wood and roots, and aboveground net primary productivity and total belowground carbon flux (TBCF) were positively correlated across a broad productivity gradient.How does carbon partitioning respond to variability in resources and environment? Within sites, partitioning to aboveground wood production and TBCF responded to changes in stand age and resource availability, but not to competition (tree density). Increasing resource supply and stand age, with one exception, resulted in increased partitioning to aboveground wood production and decreased partitioning to TBCF. Partitioning to foliage production was much less sensitive to changes in resources and environment. Overall, changes in partitioning within a site in response to resource supply and age were small (<15% of GPP), but much greater than those inferred from global relationships. Across all sites, foliage production plus respiration, and total autotrophic respiration appear to use relatively constant fractions of GPP – partitioning to both was conservative across a broad range of GPP – but values did vary across sites. Partitioning to aboveground wood production and to TBCF were the most variable – conditions that favored high GPP increased partitioning to aboveground wood production and decreased partitioning to TBCF.Do priorities exist for the products of photosynthesis? The available data do not support the concept of priorities for the products of photosynthesis, because increasing GPP increased all fluxes. All facets of carbon allocation are important to understanding carbon cycling in forest ecosystems. Terrestrial ecosystem models require information on partitioning, yet we found few studies that measured all components of the carbon budget to allow estimation of partitioning coefficients. Future studies that measure complete annual carbon budgets contribute the most to understanding carbon allocation.
ABSTRACT: Approximately 37% of forestlands in the conterminous United States are publicly owned; they represent a substantial area of potential carbon sequestration in US forests and in forest products. However, large areas of public forestlands traditionally have been less intensively inventoried than privately owned forests. Thus, less information is available about their role as carbon sinks. We present estimates of carbon budgets on public forestlands of the 48 conterminous states, along with a discussion of the assumptions necessary to make such estimates. The forest carbon budget simulation model, FORCARB2, makes estimates for US forests primarily based on inventory data. We discuss methods to develop consistent carbon budget estimates from inventory data at varying levels of detail. Total carbon stored on public forestlands in the conterminous US increased from 16.3 Gt in 1953 to the present total of 19.5 Gt, while area increased from 87.1 million hactares to 92.1 million hactares. At the same time the proportion of carbon on public forestlands relative to all forests increased from 35% to 37%. Projections for the next 40 years depend on scenarios of management influences on growth and harvest.
ABSTRACT: Our knowledge of the distribution and amount of terrestrial biomass is based almost entirely on ground measurements over an extremely small, and possibly biased sample, with many regions still unmeasured. Our understanding of changes in terrestrial biomass is even more rudimentary, although changes in land use, largely tropical deforestation, are estimated to have reduced biomass, globally. At the same time, however, the global carbon balance requires that terrestrial carbon storage has increased, albeit the exact magnitude, location, and causes of this residual terrestrial sink are still not well quantified. A satellite mission capable of measuring aboveground woody biomass could help reduce these uncertainties by delivering three products. First, a global map of aboveground woody biomass density would halve the uncertainty of estimated carbon emissions from land use change. Second, an annual, global map of natural disturbances could define the unknown but potentially large proportion of the residual terrestrial sink attributable to biomass recovery from such disturbances. Third, direct measurement of changes in aboveground biomass density (without classification of land cover or carbon modeling) would indicate the magnitude and distribution of at least the largest carbon sources (from deforestation and degradation) and sinks (from woody growth). The information would increase our understanding of the carbon cycle, including better information on the magnitude, location, and mechanisms responsible for terrestrial sources and sinks of carbon. This paper lays out the accuracy, spatial resolution, and coverage required for a satellite mission that would generate these products.
Potter, C., Klooster, S., Tan, P., Steinbach, M., Kumar, V., Genovese, V. (2005). Variability in terrestrial carbon sinks over two decades. Part III: South America, Africa, and Asia. Earth Interactions 9: 29
ABSTRACT: Seventeen years (1982 - 98) of net carbon flux predictions for Southern Hemisphere continents have been analyzed, based on a simulation model using satellite observations of monthly vegetation cover. The NASA Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach (CASA) model was driven by vegetation-cover properties derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and radiative transfer algorithms that were developed for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS). The terrestrial ecosystem flux for atmospheric CO2 for the Amazon region of South America has been predicted between a biosphere source of - 0.17 Pg C per year ( in 1983) and a biosphere sink of + 0.64 Pg C per year (in 1989). The areas of highest variability in net ecosystem production (NEP) fluxes across all of South America were detected in the south-central rain forest areas of the Amazon basin and in southeastern Brazil. Similar levels of variability were recorded across central forested portions of Africa and in the southern horn of East Africa, throughout Indonesia, and in eastern Australia. It is hypothesized that periodic droughts and wildfires associated with four major El Niño events during the 1980s and 1990s have held the net ecosystem carbon sink for atmospheric CO2 in an oscillating pattern of a 4-6-yr cycle, despite observations of increasing net plant carbon fixation over the entire 17-yr time period.
D. Bachelet, R. P. Neilson, J. M. Lenihan, R. J. Drapek (2004). Regional differences in the carbon source-sink potential of natural vegetation in the U.S.A.. Environmental Management 33 (Supplement 1): S23-S43
ABSTRACT: We simulated the variability in natural ecosystem carbon storage under historical conditions (1895–1994) in six regions of the conterminous USA as delineated for the USGCRP National Assessment (2001). The largest simulated variations in carbon fluxes occurred in the Midwest, where large fire events (1937, 1988) decreased vegetation biomass and soil carbon pools. The Southeast showed decadal-type trends and alternated between a carbon source (1920s, 1940s, 1970s) and a sink (1910s, 1930s, 1950s) in response to climate variations. The drought of the 1930s was most obvious in the creation of a large carbon source in the Midwest and the Great Plains, depleting soil carbon reserves. The Northeast shows the smallest amplitudes in the variation of its carbon stocks. Western regions release large annual carbon fluxes from their naturally fire-prone grassland- and shrubland-dominated areas, which respond quickly to chronic fire disturbance, thus reducing temporal variations in carbon stocks. However, their carbon dynamics reflect the impacts of prolonged drought periods as well as regional increases in rainfall from ocean-atmosphere climate regime shifts, most evident in the 1970s. Projections into the future by using the warm CGCM1 climate scenario show the Northeast becoming mostly a carbon source, the Southeast becoming the largest carbon source in the 21st century, and the two western-most regions becoming carbon sinks in the second half of the 21st century. Similar if more moderate trends are observed by using the more moderately warm HADCM2SUL scenario.
Bradford, J. B., Birdsey, R. A., Joyce, L.A., Ryan, M.G. (2008). Tree age, disturbance history, and carbon stocks and fluxes in subalpine Rocky Mountain forests. Global Change Biology 14 (12): 2882-2897
ABSTRACT: Forest carbon stocks and fluxes vary with forest age, and relationships with forest age are often used to estimate fluxes for regional or national carbon inventories. Two methods are commonly used to estimate forest age: observed tree age or time since a known disturbance. To clarify the relationships between tree age, time since disturbance and forest carbon storage and cycling, we examined stands of known disturbance history in three landscapes of the southern Rocky Mountains. Our objectives were to assess the similarity between carbon stocks and fluxes for these three landscapes that differed in climate and disturbance history, characterize the relationship between observed tree age and time since disturbance and quantify the predictive capability of tree age or time since disturbance on carbon stocks and fluxes. Carbon pools and fluxes were remarkably similar across the three landscapes, despite differences in elevation, climate, species composition, disturbance history, and forest age. Observed tree age was a poor predictor of time since disturbance. Maximum tree age overestimated time since disturbance for young forests and underestimated it for older forests. Carbon pools and fluxes were related to both tree age and disturbance history, but the relationships differed between these two predictors and were generally less variable for pools than for fluxes. Using tree age in a relationship developed with time since disturbance or vice versa increases errors in estimates of carbon stocks or fluxes. Little change in most carbon stocks and fluxes occurs after the first 100 years following stand-replacing disturbance, simplifying landscape scale estimates. We conclude that subalpine forests in the Central Rocky Mountains can be treated as a single forest type for the purpose of assessment and modeling of carbon, and that the critical period for change in carbon is < 100 years.
ABSTRACT: When included as part of a larger greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction program, forest offsets may provide low-cost opportunities for GHG mitigation. One barrier to including forest offsets in climate policy is the risk of reversal, the intentional or unintentional release of carbon back to the atmosphere due to storms, fire, pests, land use decisions, and many other factors. To address this shortcoming, a variety of different strategies have emerged to minimize either the risk or the financial and environmental implications of reversal. These strategies range from management decisions made at the individual stand level to buffers and set-asides that function across entire trading programs. For such strategies to work, the actual risk and magnitude of potential reversals need to be clearly understood. In this paper we examine three factors that are likely to influence reversal risk: natural disturbances (such as storms, fire, and insect outbreaks), climate change, and landowner behavior. Although increases in atmospheric CO2 and to a lesser extent warming will likely bring benefits to some forest ecosystems, temperature stress may result in others. Furthermore, optimism based on experimental results of physiology and growth must be tempered with knowledge that future large-scale disturbances and extreme weather events are also likely to increase. At the individual project level, management strategies such as manipulation of forest structure, age, and composition can be used to influence carbon sequestration and reversal risk. Because some management strategies have the potential to maximize risk or carbon objectives at the expense of the other, policymakers should ensure that forest offset policies and programs do not provide the singular incentive to maximize carbon storage. Given the scale and magnitude of potential disturbance events in the future, however, management decisions at the individual project level may be insufficient to adequately address reversal risk; other, non-silvicultural strategies and policy mechanisms may be necessary. We conclude with a brief review of policy mechanisms that have been developed or proposed to help manage or mitigate reversal risk at both individual project and policy-wide scales.
C. L. Goodale, M. J. Apps, R. A. Birdsey, C. B. Field, L. S. Heath, R. A. Houghton, J. C. Jenkins, G. H. Kohlmaier, W. Kurz, S. Liu, G. Nabuurs, S. Nilsson, A. Z. Shvidenko (2002). Forest carbon sinks in the northern hemisphere. Ecologcial Applications 12 (3): 891-899
ABSTRACT: There is general agreement that terrestrial systems in the Northern Hemisphere provide a significant sink for atmospheric CO2 ; however, estimates of the magnitude and distribution of this sink vary greatly. National forest inventories provide strong, measurement-based constraints on the magnitude of net forest carbon uptake. We brought together forest sector C budgets for Canada, the United States, Europe, Russia, and China that were derived from forest inventory information, allometric relationships, and supplementary data sets and models. Together, these suggest that northern forests and woodlands provided a total sink for 0.6–0.7 Pg of C per year (1 Pg = 1015 g) during the early 1990s, consisting of 0.21 Pg C/yr in living biomass, 0.08 Pg C/yr in forest products, 0.15 Pg C/yr in dead wood, and 0.13 Pg C/yr in the forest floor and soil organic matter. Estimates of changes in soil C pools have improved but remain the least certain terms of the budgets. Over 80% of the estimated sink occurred in one-third of the forest area, in temperate regions affected by fire suppression, agricultural abandonment, and plantation forestry. Growth in boreal regions was offset by fire and other disturbances that vary considerably from year to year. Comparison with atmospheric inversions suggests significant land C sinks may occur outside the forest sector.
ABSTRACT: The global carbon budget is, of course, balanced. The conservation of carbon and the first law of thermodynamics are intact. “Balancing the carbon budget” refers to the state of the science in evaluating the terms of the global carbon equation. The annual increases in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, oceans, and land should balance the emissions of carbon from fossil fuels and deforestation. Balancing the carbon budget is not the real issue, however. The real issue is understanding the processes responsible for net sources and sinks of carbon. Such understanding should lead to more accurate predictions of future concentrations of CO2 and more accurate predictions of the rate and extent of climatic change. The recent past may be insufficient for prediction, however. Oceanic and terrestrial sinks that have lessened the rate of growth in atmospheric CO2 until now may diminish as feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate become more prominent.
T. Hudiburg, B. Law, D. P. Turner, J. Campbell, D. Donato, M. Duane (2009). Carbon dynamics of Oregon and Northern California forests and potential land-based carbon storage. Ecological Applications 19 (1): 163-180
ABSTRACT: Net uptake of carbon from the atmosphere (net ecosystem production, NEP) is dependent on climate, disturbance history, management practices, forest age, and forest type. To improve understanding of the influence of these factors on forest carbon stocks and flux in the western United States, federal inventory data and supplemental field measurements at additional plots were used to estimate several important components of the carbon balance in forests in Oregon and Northern California during the 1990s. Species- and ecoregion-specific allometric equations were used to estimate live and dead biomass stores, net primary productivity (NPP), and mortality. In the semiarid East Cascades and mesic Coast Range, mean total biomass was 8 and 24 kg C/m2 , and mean NPP was 0.30 and 0.78 kg C·m−2 ·yr−1 , respectively. Maximum NPP and dead biomass stores were most influenced by climate, whereas maximum live biomass stores and mortality were most influenced by forest type. Within ecoregions, mean live and dead biomass were usually higher on public lands, primarily because of the younger age class distribution on private lands. Decrease in NPP with age was not general across ecoregions, with no marked decline in old stands (>200 years old) in some ecoregions. In the absence of stand-replacing disturbance, total landscape carbon stocks could theoretically increase from 3.2 ± 0.34 Pg C to 5.9 ± 1.34 Pg C (a 46% increase) if forests were managed for maximum carbon storage. Although the theoretical limit is probably unattainable, given the timber-based economy and fire regimes in some ecoregions, there is still potential to significantly increase the land-based carbon storage by increasing rotation age and reducing harvest rates.
S. W. Pacala, G. C. Hurtt, D. Baker, P. Peylin, R. A. Houghton, R. A. Birdsey, L. Heath, E. T. Sundquist, R. F. Stallard, P. Ciais, P. Moorcroft, J. P. Caspersen, E. Shevliakova, B. Moore, G. Kohlmaier, E. Holland, M. Gloor, M. E. Harmon, S.-M. Fan, J. L. Sarmiento, C. L. Goodale, D. Schimel, C. B. Field (2001). Consistent land- and atmosphere-based U.S. carbon sink estimates. Science 292 (5525): 2316-2320
ABSTRACT: For the period 1980-89, we estimate a carbon sink in the coterminous United States between 0.30 and 0.58 petagrams of carbon per year (petagrams of carbon = 1015 grams of carbon). The net carbon flux from the atmosphere to the land was higher, 0.37 to 0.71 petagrams of carbon per year, because a net flux of 0.07 to 0.13 petagrams of carbon per year was exported by rivers and commerce and returned to the atmosphere elsewhere. These land-based estimates are larger than those from previous studies (0.08 to 0.35 petagrams of carbon per year) because of the inclusion of additional processes and revised estimates of some component fluxes. Although component estimates are uncertain, about one-half of the total is outside the forest sector. We also estimated the sink using atmospheric models and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (the tracer-transport inversion method). The range of results from the atmosphere-based inversions contains the land-based estimates. Atmosphere- and land-based estimates are thus consistent, within the large ranges of uncertainty for both methods. Atmosphere-based results for 1980-89 are similar to those for 1985-89 and 1990-94, indicating a relatively stable U.S. sink throughout the period.
S. P. Prisley, M. J. Mortimer (2004). A synthesis of literature on evaluation of models for policy applications, with implications for forest carbon accounting. Forest Ecology and Management 198 (1-3): 89-103
ABSTRACT: Forest modeling has moved beyond the realm of scientific discovery into the policy arena. The example that motivates this review is the application of models for forest carbon accounting. As negotiations determine the terms under which forest carbon will be accounted, reported, and potentially traded, guidelines and standards are being developed to ensure consistency, accuracy, transparency and verifiability. To date, these guidelines have focused on definitions, data, and reporting, not models. The goal of this paper is to synthesize literature that may inform the development of guidelines for the application of models in areas with policy implications, such as forest carbon accounting. We discuss validation, verification, and evaluation as applied to modeling, and review common components of model evaluation. Peer review, quantitative analysis of model results, and sensitivity analysis are the most widely used approaches to model evaluation. US judicial and legislative perspectives on criteria for model acceptability are summarized.
ABSTRACT: The potential need for national-level comparisons of greenhouse gas emissions, and the desirability of understanding terrestrial sources and sinks of carbon, has prompted interest in quantifying national forest carbon budgets. In this study, we link a forest inventory database, a set of stand-level carbon budgets, and information on harvest levels in order to estimate the current pools and flux of carbon in forests of the conterminous United States. The forest inventory specifies the region, forest type, age class, productivity class, management intensity, and ownership of all timberland. The stand-level carbon budgets are based on growth and yield tables, in combination with additional information on carbon in soils, the forest floor, woody debris, and the understory. Total carbon in forests of the conterminous U.S. is estimated at 36.7 Pg, with half of that in the soil compartment. Tree carbon represents 33% of the total, followed by woody debris (10%), the forest floor (6%), and the understory (1%). The carbon uptake associated with net annual growth is 331 Tg, however, much of that is balanced by harvest-related mortality (266 Tg) and decomposition of woody debris. The forest land base at the national level is accumulating 79 Tg/yr, with the largest carbon gain in the Northeast region. The similarity in the magnitude of the biologically driven flux and the harvest-related flux indicates the importance of employing an age-class-based inventory, and of including effects associated with forest harvest and harvest residue, when modeling national carbon budgets in the temperate zone.
ABSTRACT: Soil science must play a crucial role in meeting present and emerging societal needs of the 21st century and beyond for a population expected to stabilize around 10 billion and having increased aspirations for a healthy diet and a rise in the standards of living. In addition to advancing food security by eliminating hunger and malnutrition, soil resources must be managed regarding numerous other global needs through interdisciplinary collaborations. Some of which are to mitigate global warming; to improve quantity and quality of freshwater resources; to enhance biodiversity; to minimize desertification; serve as a repository of waste; an archive of human and planetary history; meet growing energy demands; develop strategies of sustainable management of urban ecosystems; alleviate poverty of agricultural communities as an engine of economic development; and fulfill aspirations of rapidly urbanizing and industrializing societies. In addition to food and ecosystem services, bio-industries (e.g., plastics, solvents, paints, adhesives, pharmaceuticals and chemicals) through plant-based compounds (carbohydrates, proteins, and oils) and energy plantations (bioethanol and biodiesel) can revolutionize agriculture. These diverse and complex demands on soil resources necessitate a shift in strategic thinking and conceptualizing sustainable management of soil resources in agroecosystems to provide all ecosystem services while also meeting the needs for food, feed, fiber, and fuel by developing multifunctional production systems. There is a strong need to broaden the scope of soil science to effectively address ever changing societal needs. To do this, soil scientists must rally with allied sciences including hydrology, climatology, geology, ecology, biology, physical sciences (chemistry, physics), and engineering. Use of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology can play an important role in addressing emerging global issues. Pursuit of sustainability, being a moral/ethical and political challenge, must be addressed in cooperation with economists and political scientists. Soil scientists must work in cooperation with industrial ecologists and urban planners toward sustainable development and management of soils in urban and industrial ecosystems. More than half of the world's population (3.3 billion) live in towns and cities, and the number of urban dwellers is expected to increase to 5 billion by 2030. Thus, the study of urban soils for industrial use, human habitation, recreation, infrastructure forestry, and urban agriculture is a high priority. Soil scientists must nurture symbiotic/synergistic relations with numerous stake holders including land managers, energy companies and carbon traders, urban planners, waste disposal organizations, and conservators of natural resources. Trading of C credits in a trillion-dollar market by 2020 must be made accessible to land managers, especially the resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Soil science curricula, at undergraduate and graduate levels, must be revisited to provide the needed background in all basic and applied sciences with focus on globalization. We must raise the profile of soil science profession and position students in the competitive world of ever flattening Earth.
ABSTRACT: The soil is important in sequestering atmospheric CO2 and in emitting trace gases (e.g. CO2 , CH4 and N2 O) that are radiatively active and enhance the 'greenhouse' effect. Land use changes and predicted global warming, through their effects on net primary productivity, the plant community and soil conditions, may have important effects on the size of the organic matter pool in the soil and directly affect the atmospheric concentration of these trace gases.
A discrepancy of approximately 350 × 1015 g (or Pg) of C in two recent estimates of soil carbon reserves worldwide is evaluated using the geo-referenced database developed for the World Inventory of Soil Emission Potentials (WISE) project. This database holds 4353 soil profiles distributed globally which are considered to represent the soil units shown on a 1/2° latitude by 1/2° longitude version of the corrected and digitized 1:5 M FAO–UNESCO Soil Map of the World.
Total soil carbon pools for the entire land area of the world, excluding carbon held in the litter layer and charcoal, amounts to 2157–2293 Pg of C in the upper 100 cm. Soil organic carbon is estimated to be 684–724 Pg of C in the upper 30 cm, 1462–1548 Pg of C in the upper 100 cm, and 2376–2456 Pg of C in the upper 200 cm. Although deforestation, changes in land use and predicted climate change can alter the amount of organic carbon held in the superficial soil layers rapidly, this is less so for the soil carbonate carbon. An estimated 695–748 Pg of carbonate-C is held in the upper 100 cm of the world's soils. Mean C: N ratios of soil organic matter range from 9.9 for arid Yermosols to 25.8 for Histosols. Global amounts of soil nitrogen are estimated to be 133–140 Pg of N for the upper 100 cm. Possible changes in soil organic carbon and nitrogen dynamics caused by increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and the predicted associated rise in temperature are discussed.
ABSTRACT: Afforestation is a cost-effective way for some countries to meet part of their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and its eventual extensions. Credits for carbon sequestration can be mediated through markets for emissions permits. Both new and old forests are subject to pestilence and fire, which are events that could release substantial, discrete quantities of carbon at irregular intervals. Permits markets, the use of green accounting, and insurance markets for sudden emissions could increase the efficiency of the scheme and its attractiveness to potential participants.
ABSTRACT: In its attempt to provide quantitative limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Kyoto protocol accepts the principle that sequestration of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere can be used to offset emissions of carbon from fossil-fuel combustion. Whether or not the Kyoto protocol ever comes into force, it is worthwhile to understand how carbon sequestration might be treated in any mitigation plan that provides a tax or ration on carbon emissions. Emission credits, as proposed for the energy sector, are based on the idea that a prevented emission is prevented forever, and emission credits might be traded among parties. In the event that sequestered carbon is subsequently released to the atmosphere, it would be advantageous to agree what the liability is and who assumes that liability. We describe a system whereby emissions credits could be rented, rather than sold, when carbon is sequestered but permanence of sequestration is either not certain or not desired. Our proposal is similar to that offered by the government of Colombia except that it casts these temporary emissions credits into the traditional concepts of rental agreements and it clarifies the opportunities for secondary transactions. A rental contract for emissions credits would establish continuous responsibility for sequestered carbon; credit would be assigned when carbon is sequestered and debits would accrue when carbon is emitted.
ABSTRACT: The Kyoto protocol has focused the attention of the public and policymakers on the earth's carbon (C) budget. Previous estimates of the impacts of vegetation change have been limited to equilibrium "snapshots" that could not capture nonlinear or threshold effects along the trajectory of change. New models have been designed to complement equilibrium models and simulate vegetation succession through time while estimating variability in the C budget and responses to episodic events such as drought and fire. In addition, a plethora of future climate scenarios has been used to produce a bewildering variety of simulated ecological responses. Our objectives were to use an equilibrium model (Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil system, or MAPSS) and a dynamic model (MC1) to (a) simulate changes in potential equilibrium vegetation distribution under historical conditions and across a wide gradient of future temperature changes to look for consistencies and trends among the many future scenarios, (b) simulate time-dependent changes in vegetation distribution and its associated C pools to illustrate the possible trajectories of vegetation change near the high and low ends of the temperature gradient, and (c) analyze the extent of the US area supporting a negative C balance. Both models agree that a moderate increase in temperature produces an increase in vegetation density and carbon sequestration across most of the US with small changes in vegetation types. Large increases in temperature cause losses of C with large shifts in vegetation types. In the western states, particularly southern California, precipitation and thus vegetation density increase and forests expand under all but the hottest scenarios. In the eastern US, particularly the Southeast, forests expand under the more moderate scenarios but decline under more severe climate scenarios, with catastrophic fires potentially causing rapid vegetation conversions from forest to savanna. Both models show that there is a potential for either positive or negative feedbacks to the atmosphere depending on the level of warming in the climate change scenarios.
Bradfod, J. B., Weishampel, P., Smith, M.-L., Kolka, R. K., Birdsey, R. A., Ollinger, S. V, Ryan, M. G. (2009). Detrital carbon pools in temperate forests: magnitude and potential for landscape-scale assessment. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39 (4): 802-813
ABSTRACT: Reliably estimating carbon storage and cycling in detrital biomass is an obstacle to carbon accounting. We examined carbon pools and fluxes in three small temperate forest landscapes to assess the magnitude of carbon stored in detrital biomass and determine whether detrital carbon storage is related to stand structural properties (leaf area, aboveground biomass, primary production) that can be estimated by remote sensing. We characterized these relationships with and without forest age as an additional predictive variable. Results depended on forest type. Carbon in dead woody debris was substantial at all sites, accounting for ~17% of aboveground carbon, whereas carbon in forest floor was substantial in the subalpine Rocky Mountains (36% of aboveground carbon) and less important in northern hardwoods of New England and mixed forests of the upper Midwest (~7%). Relationships to aboveground characteristics accounted for between 38% and 59% of the variability in carbon stored in forest floor and between 21% and 71% of the variability in carbon stored in dead woody material, indicating substantial differences among sites. Relating dead woody debris or forest floor carbon to other aboveground characteristics and (or) stand age may, in some forest types, provide a partial solution to the challenge of assessing fine-scale variability.
Negra, Christine, Cremer Sweedo, Caroline, Cavender-Bares, K., O'Malley, R. (2008). Indicators of carbon storage in U.S. ecosystems: baseline for terrrestrial carbon accounting. Journal of Environmental Quality 37 (4): 1376-1382
ABSTRACT: Policymakers, program managers, and landowners need information about net terrestrial carbon sequestration in forests, croplands, grasslands, and shrublands to understand the cumulative effects of carbon trading programs, expanding biofuels production, and changing environmental conditions in addition to agricultural and forestry uses. Objective information systems that establish credible baselines and track changes in carbon storage can provide the accountability needed for carbon trading programs to achieve durable carbon sequestration and for biofuels initiatives to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. A multi-sector stakeholder design process was used to produce a new indicator for the 2008 State of the Nation's Ecosystems report that presents metrics of carbon storage for major ecosystem types, specifically change in the amount of carbon gained or lost over time and the amount of carbon stored per unit area (carbon density). These metrics have been developed for national scale use, but are suitable for adaptation to multiple scales such as individual farm and forest parcels, carbon offset markets and integrated national and international assessments. To acquire the data necessary for a complete understanding of how much, and where, carbon is gained or lost by U.S. ecosystems, expansion and integration of monitoring programs will be required.
Zhu, Zhiliang, ed., Bergamaschi, Brian, Bernknopf, Richard, Clow, David, Dye, Dennis, Faulkner, Stephen, Forney, William, Gleason, Robert, Hawbaker, Todd, Liu, Jinxun, Liu, Shuguang, Prisley, Stephen, Reed, Bradley, Reeves, Matthew, Rollins, Matthew, Sleeter, Benjamin, Sohl, Terry, Stackpoole, Sarah, Stehman, Stephen, Striegl, Robert, Wein, Anne, and Zhu, Zhiliang (2010). A method for assessing carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of the United States under present conditions and future scenarios: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5233, 190 p.
ABSTRACT: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), Section 712, mandates the U.S. Department of the Interior to develop a methodology and conduct an assessment of the Nation's ecosystems, focusing on carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, and emissions of three greenhouse gases (GHGs): carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The major requirements include (1) an assessment of all ecosystems (terrestrial systems, such as forests, croplands, wetlands, grasslands/shrublands; and aquatic ecosystems, such as rivers, lakes, and estuaries); (2) an estimate of the annual potential capacities of ecosystems to increase carbon sequestration and reduce net GHG emissions in the context of mitigation strategies (including management and restoration activities); and (3) an evaluation of the effects of controlling processes, such as climate change, land-use and land-cover change, and disturbances such as wildfires.