Climate Change and...
- Climate Variability
- Climate Models
Effects of Climate Change
Aber, J. D., Ollinger, S. V., Federer, C. A., Reich, P. B., Goulden, M. L., Kicklighter, D. W., Melillo, J. M., Lathrop, R. G., Jr. (1995). Predicting the effects of climate change on water yield and forest production in the northeastern United States. Climate Research 5 (3): 207-222
ABSTRACT: Rapid and simultaneous changes in temperature, precipitation and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 are predicted to occur over the next century. Simple, well-validated models of ecosystem function are required to predict the effects of these changes This paper describes an improved version of a forest carbon and water balance model (PnET-II) and the application of the model to predict stand- and regional-level effects of changes in temperature, precipitation and atmospheric CO2 (gross and net) driven by nitrogen availability as expressed through foliar N concentration. Improvements was parameterized and run for 4 forest/site combinations and validated against available data for water yield, gross and net carbon exchange and biomass production. The validation exercise suggests that the determination of actual water availability to stands and the occurrence or non-occurrence of soil-based water stress are critical to accurate modeling of forest net primary production (NPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP). The model was then run for the entire New England/New York (USA) region using a 1 km resolution geographic information system. Predicted long-term NEP ranged from -85 to +275 g C m-2 yr-1 for the 4 forest/site combinations, and from -150 to 350 g cm-2 yr-1 for the region, with a regional average of 76 g C m-2 yr-1 . A combination of increased temperature (+6 degree C), decreased precipitation (-15%) and increased Water use efficiency (2x, due to doubling of CO2 ) resulted generally in increases in NPP and decreases in water yield over the region
ABSTRACT: We inter-compare the mathematical formulation of ten models of terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP) and their functional responses to temperature (T), carbon dioxide (CO2 ), Soil water (W) and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). The models span a broad spectrum of complexity of approaches from the original, empirical Miami model, through beta-factor, and global-average box models, to the dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) TRIFFID and BIOME3. Five of the models separate photosynthesis and respiration, although only three directly consider biochemistry. Equations for all the models are given in a complete, compact, standardized format.
NPP responses to temperature differ markedly: beta-factor models show only a tiny increase with temperature, empirical models predict a modest S-shaped response saturating above 35 °C (a surrogate for drought effects), biochemical and quasi-biochemical models show a peaked response with an optimum in the range 15-25 °C except for DEMETER (< 10 °C). Qualitative differences in whether respiration exhibits a peaked or exponential response to temperature have only a modest effect on NPP. The CO2 response of NPP is qualitatively similar in all but one model that misrepresents it. Where a water stress response of NPP is represented, it is saturating in all but the same model, where NPP declines under high soil moisture. Where represented, the PAR response of NPP is saturating, but the saturation point differs considerably.
When responses to two environmental variables are combined, the second variable typically just scales the response to the first. In biochemical models, the temperature optimum of NPP increases with CO2 , and it also increases noticeably with PAR in TRIFFID and a derivative of it. Where different plant functional types (PFTs) are represented, C-4 grasses have the greatest maximum NPP at a higher optimum temperature than any C-3 PFT. Boreal, needle-leaf trees generally have the lowest NPR Additional uncertainties in modelling respiration, stomatal conductance, light-use efficiency, and scaling to the canopy level are discussed. We suggest that a concerted effort to standardize definitions, notation, units and PFTs would add a degree of transparency that is currently lacking in NPP modelling.
ABSTRACT: Bioenergy cropping systems could help offset greenhouse gas emissions, but quantifying that offset is complex. Bioenergy crops offset carbon dioxide emissions by converting atmospheric CO2 to organic C in crop biomass and soil, but they also emit nitrous oxide and vary in their effects on soil oxidation of methane. Growing the crops requires energy (e.g., to operate farm machinery, produce inputs such as fertilizer) and so does converting the harvested product to usable fuels (feedstock conversion efficiency). The objective of this study was to quantify all these factors to determine the net effect of several bioenergy cropping systems on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. We used the DAYCENT biogeochemistry model to assess soil GHG fluxes and biomass yields for corn, soybean, alfalfa, hybrid poplar, reed canarygrass, and switchgrass as bioenergy crops in Pennsylvania, USA. DAYCENT results were combined with estimates of fossil fuels used to provide farm inputs and operate agricultural machinery and fossil-fuel offsets from biomass yields to calculate net GHG fluxes for each cropping system considered. Displaced fossil fuel was the largest GHG sink, followed by soil carbon sequestration. N2 O emissions were the largest GHG source. All cropping systems considered provided net GHG sinks, even when soil C was assumed to reach a new steady state and C sequestration in soil was not counted. Hybrid poplar and switchgrass provided the largest net GHG sinks, >200 g CO2 e-C·m-2 ·yr-1 for biomass conversion to ethanol, and >400 g CO2 e-C·m-2 ·yr-1 for biomass gasification for electricity generation. Compared with the life cycle of gasoline and diesel, ethanol and biodiesel from corn rotations reduced GHG emissions by 40%, reed canarygrass by 85%, and switchgrass and hybrid poplar by ~115%.
Alpert, P., Niyogi, D., Pielke, Sr., R.A., Eastman, J.L., Xue, Y.K., Raman, S. (2006). Evidence for carbon dioxide and moisture interactions from the leaf cell up to global scales: Perspective on human-caused climate change. Global and Planetary Change 54 (1-2): 202-208
ABSTRACT: It is of utmost interest to further understand the mechanisms behind the potential interactions or synergies between the greenhouse gases (GHG) forcing(s), particularly as represented by CO2 , and water processes and through different climatic scales down to the leaf scale. Toward this goal, the factor separation methodology introduced by Stein and Alpert [Stein U. and Alpert, P. 1993. Factor separation in numerical simulations, J. Atmos. Sci., 50, 2107–2115.] that allows an explicit separation of atmospheric synergies among different factors, is employed. Three independent experiments carried out recently by the present authors, are reported here, all strongly suggest the existence of a significant CO2 –water synergy in all the involved scales. The experiments employed a very wide range of up-to-date atmospheric models that complement the physics currently introduced in most Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for global climate change prediction.
Three modeling experiments that go from the small/micro scale (leaf scale and soil moisture) to mesoscale (land-use change and CO2 effects ) and to global scale (greenhouse gases and cloudiness) all show that synergies between water and CO2 are essential in predicting carbon assimilation, minimum daily temperature and the global Earth temperature, respectively. The study also highlights the importance of including the physics associated with carbon–water synergy which is mostly unresolved in global climate models suggesting that significant carbon–water interactions are not incorporated or at least well parameterized in current climate models. Hence, there is a need for integrative climate models. As shown in earlier studies, the climate involves physical, chemical and biological processes. To only include a subset of these processes limits the skill of local, regional and global models to simulate the real climate system.
In addition, our results provide explicit determination of the direct and the interactive effect of the CO2 response on the terrestrial biosphere response. There is also an implicit scale interactive effect that can be deduced from the multiscale effects discussed in the three examples. Processes at each scale-leaf, regional and global will all synergistically contribute to increase the feedbacks — which can decrease or increase the overall system's uncertainty depending on specific case/setup and needs to be examined in future coupled, multiscale studies.
Balshi, M. S., Mcguire, A. D., Zhuang, Q., Melillo, J., Kicklighter, D. W., Kasischke, E., Wirth, C., Flannigan, M., Harden, J., Clein, J. S., Burnside, T. J., Mcallister, J., Kurz, W. A., Apps, M., Shvidenko, A. (2007). The role of historical fire disturbance in the carbon dynamics of the pan-boreal region: A process-based analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 112 (G02029): doi:10.1029/2006JG000380
ABSTRACT: Wildfire is a common occurrence in ecosystems of northern high latitudes, and changes in the fire regime of this region have consequences for carbon feedbacks to the climate system. To improve our understanding of how wildfire influences carbon dynamics of this region, we used the process-based Terrestrial Ecosystem Model to simulate fire emissions and changes in carbon storage north of 45°N from the start of spatially explicit historically recorded fire records in the twentieth century through 2002, and evaluated the role of fire in the carbon dynamics of the region within the context of ecosystem responses to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate. Our analysis indicates that fire plays an important role in interannual and decadal scale variation of source/sink relationships of northern terrestrial ecosystems and also suggests that atmospheric CO2 may be important to consider in addition to changes in climate and fire disturbance. There are substantial uncertainties in the effects of fire on carbon storage in our simulations. These uncertainties are associated with sparse fire data for northern Eurasia, uncertainty in estimating carbon consumption, and difficulty in verifying assumptions about the representation of fires that occurred prior to the start of the historical fire record. To improve the ability to better predict how fire will influence carbon storage of this region in the future, new analyses of the retrospective role of fire in the carbon dynamics of northern high latitudes should address these uncertainties.
Bondeau, A., Smith, P.C., Zaehle, S., Schaphoff, S., Lucht, W., Cramer, W., Gerten, D., Lotze-Campen, H., Müller, C., Reichstein, M., Smith, B. (2007). Modelling the role of agriculture for the 20th century global terrestrial carbon balance. Global Change Biology 13 (3): 679-706
ABSTRACT: In order to better assess the role of agriculture within the global climate-vegetation system, we present a model of the managed planetary land surface, Lund–Potsdam–Jena managed Land (LPJmL), which simulates biophysical and biogeochemical processes as well as productivity and yield of the most important crops worldwide, using a concept of crop functional types (CFTs). Based on the LPJ-Dynamic Global Vegetation Model, LPJmL simulates the transient changes in carbon and water cycles due to land use, the specific phenology and seasonal CO2 fluxes of agricultural-dominated areas, and the production of crops and grazing land. It uses 13 CFTs (11 arable crops and two managed grass types), with specific parameterizations of phenology connected to leaf area development. Carbon is allocated daily towards four carbon pools, one being the yield-bearing storage organs. Management (irrigation, treatment of residues, intercropping) can be considered in order to capture their effect on productivity, on soil organic carbon and on carbon extracted from the ecosystem. For transient simulations for the 20th century, a global historical land use data set was developed, providing the annual cover fraction of the 13 CFTs, rain-fed and/or irrigated, within 0.5° grid cells for the period 1901–2000, using published data on land use, crop distributions and irrigated areas. Several key results are compared with observations. The simulated spatial distribution of sowing dates for temperate cereals is comparable with the reported crop calendars. The simulated seasonal canopy development agrees better with satellite observations when actual cropland distribution is taken into account. Simulated yields for temperate cereals and maize compare well with FAO statistics. Monthly carbon fluxes measured at three agricultural sites also compare well with simulations. Global simulations indicate a ~24% (respectively ~10%) reduction in global vegetation (respectively soil) carbon due to agriculture, and 6–9 Pg C of yearly harvested biomass in the 1990s. In contrast to simulations of the potential natural vegetation showing the land biosphere to be an increasing carbon sink during the 20th century, LPJmL simulates a net carbon source until the 1970s (due to land use), and a small sink (mostly due to changing climate and CO2 ) after 1970. This is comparable with earlier LPJ simulations using a more simple land use scheme, and within the uncertainty range of estimates in the 1980s and 1990s. The fluxes attributed to land use change compare well with Houghton's estimates on the land use related fluxes until the 1970s, but then they begin to diverge, probably due to the different rates of deforestation considered. The simulated impacts of agriculture on the global water cycle for the 1990s are ~5% (respectively ~20%) reduction in transpiration (respectively interception), and ~44% increase in evaporation. Global runoff, which includes a simple irrigation scheme, is practically not affected.
Brown, S., Hall, M., Andrasko, K., Ruiz, F., Marzoli, W., Guerrero, G., Masera, O., Dushku, A., DeJong, B., Cornell, J. (2007). Baselines for land-use change in the tropics: application to avoided deforestation projects. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 12 (6): 1001-1026
ABSTRACT: Although forest conservation activities, particularly in the tropics, offer significant potential for mitigating carbon (C) emissions, these types of activities have faced obstacles in the policy arena caused by the difficulty in determining key elements of the project cycle, particularly the baseline. A baseline for forest conservation has two main components: the projected land-use change and the corresponding carbon stocks in applicable pools in vegetation and soil, with land-use change being the most difficult to address analytically. In this paper we focus on developing and comparing three models, ranging from relatively simple extrapolations of past trends in land use based on simple drivers such as population growth to more complex extrapolations of past trends using spatially explicit models of land-use change driven by biophysical and socioeconomic factors. The three models used for making baseline projections of tropical deforestation at the regional scale are: the Forest Area Change (FAC) model, the Land Use and Carbon Sequestration (LUCS) model, and the Geographical Modeling (GEOMOD) model. The models were used to project deforestation in six tropical regions that featured different ecological and socioeconomic conditions, population dynamics, and uses of the land: (1) northern Belize; (2) Santa Cruz State, Bolivia; (3) Paraná State, Brazil; (4) Campeche, Mexico; (5) Chiapas, Mexico; and (6) Michoacán, Mexico.
A comparison of all model outputs across all six regions shows that each model produced quite different deforestation baselines. In general, the simplest FAC model, applied at the national administrative-unit scale, projected the highest amount of forest loss (four out of six regions) and the LUCS model the least amount of loss (four out of five regions). Based on simulations of GEOMOD, we found that readily observable physical and biological factors as well as distance to areas of past disturbance were each about twice as important as either sociological/demographic or economic/infrastructure factors (less observable) in explaining empirical land-use patterns.
We propose from the lessons learned, a methodology comprised of three main steps and six tasks can be used to begin developing credible baselines. We also propose that the baselines be projected over a 10-year period because, although projections beyond 10 years are feasible, they are likely to be unrealistic for policy purposes. In the first step, an historic land-use change and deforestation estimate is made by determining the analytic domain (size of the region relative to the size of proposed project), obtaining historic data, analyzing candidate baseline drivers, and identifying three to four major drivers. In the second step, a baseline of where deforestation is likely to occur–a potential land-use change (PLUC) map—is produced using a spatial model such as GEOMOD that uses the key drivers from step one. Then rates of deforestation are projected over a 10-year baseline period based on one of the three models. Using the PLUC maps, projected rates of deforestation, and carbon stock estimates, baseline projections are developed that can be used for project GHG accounting and crediting purposes: The final step proposes that, at agreed interval (e.g., about 10 years), the baseline assumptions about baseline drivers be re-assessed. This step reviews the viability of the 10-year baseline in light of changes in one or more key baseline drivers (e.g., new roads, new communities, new protected area, etc.). The potential land-use change map and estimates of rates of deforestation could be re-done at the agreed interval, allowing the deforestation rates and changes in spatial drivers to be incorporated into a defense of the existing baseline, or the derivation of a new baseline projection.
Calef, M. P., Mcguire, A. D., Epstein, H. E., Rupp, T. S., Shugart, H. H. (2005). Analysis of vegetation distribution in Interior Alaska and sensitivity to climate change using a logistic regression approach. Journal of Biogeography 32 (5): 863-878
ABSTRACT:To understand drivers of vegetation type distribution and sensitivity to climate change.Interior Alaska.A logistic regression model was developed that predicts the potential equilibrium distribution of four major vegetation types: tundra, deciduous forest, black spruce forest and white spruce forest based on elevation, aspect, slope, drainage type, fire interval, average growing season temperature and total growing season precipitation. The model was run in three consecutive steps. The hierarchical logistic regression model was used to evaluate how scenarios of changes in temperature, precipitation and fire interval may influence the distribution of the four major vegetation types found in this region.At the first step, tundra was distinguished from forest, which was mostly driven by elevation, precipitation and south to north aspect. At the second step, forest was separated into deciduous and spruce forest, a distinction that was primarily driven by fire interval and elevation. At the third step, the identification of black vs. white spruce was driven mainly by fire interval and elevation. The model was verified for Interior Alaska, the region used to develop the model, where it predicted vegetation distribution among the steps with an accuracy of 60–83%. When the model was independently validated for north-west Canada, it predicted vegetation distribution among the steps with an accuracy of 53–85%. Black spruce remains the dominant vegetation type under all scenarios, potentially expanding most under warming coupled with increasing fire interval. White spruce is clearly limited by moisture once average growing season temperatures exceeded a critical limit (+2 °C). Deciduous forests expand their range the most when any two of the following scenarios are combined: decreasing fire interval, warming and increasing precipitation. Tundra can be replaced by forest under warming but expands under precipitation increase.The model analyses agree with current knowledge of the responses of vegetation types to climate change and provide further insight into drivers of vegetation change.
ABSTRACT: Global climate change has been modifying ecosystem carbon cycling, which has produced feedbacks on climate by affecting the concentration of atmospheric CO2 . The importance of biospheric CO2 uptake or release to climate change has generated great interest in quantifying the dynamic responses of terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycling to climate change. However, less attention has been given to Africa, although it accounts for about one-fifth of the global net primary production and is one of the regions that have the greatest climate change. Here we use a biogeochemical model to simulate the dynamic variations in the carbon fluxes and stocks of African ecosystems caused by changes in climate and atmospheric CO2 from 1901 and 1995. We estimate that climate change reduces plant production and soil carbon stocks and causes net CO2 release, but the fertilization effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 on photosynthesis reverses the reduction and leads to carbon accumulation in vegetation. Therefore, the combined effect of climate change and increasing atmospheric CO2 causes net CO2 uptake, particularly in central Africa. The mean rate of the carbon sequestration in the period 1981-1995 is calculated to be 0.34 Gt C yr-1 . Nevertheless, Africa is not necessarily a significant carbon sink, because a large part of the carbon sequestration is offset by the carbon release arising from land use changes.
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.
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, H., Tian, H. Q., Liu, M. L., Melillo, J., Pan, S. F., Zhang, C. (2006). Effect of land-cover change on terrestrial carbon dynamics in the southern United States. Journal of Environmental Quality 35 (4): 1533-1547
ABSTRACT: Received for publication May 17, 2005. Land-cover change has significant influence on carbon storage and fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The southern United States is thought to be the largest carbon sink across the conterminous United States. However, the spatial and temporary variability of carbon storage and fluxes due to land-cover change in the southern United States remains unclear. In this study, we first reconstructed the annual data set of land-cover of the southern United States from 1860 to 2003 with a spatial resolution of 8 km. Then we used a spatially explicit process-based biogeochemical model (Terrestrial Ecosystem Model [TEM] 4.3) to simulate the effects of cropland expansion and forest regrowth on the carbon dynamics in this region. The pattern of land-cover change in the southern United States was primarily driven by the change of cropland, including cropland expansion and forest regrowth on abandoned cropland. The TEM simulation estimated that total carbon storage in the southern United States in 1860 was 36.8 Pg C, which likely was overestimated, including 10.8 Pg C in the southeast and 26 Pg C in the south-central. During 1860–2003, a total of 9.4 Pg C, including 6.5 Pg C of vegetation and 2.9 Pg C of soil C pool, was released to the atmosphere in the southern United States. The net carbon flux due to cropland expansion and forest regrowth on abandoned cropland was approximately zero in the entire southern region between 1980 and 2003. The temporal and spatial variability of regional net carbon exchange was influenced by land-cover pattern, especially the distribution of cropland. The land-use analysis in this study is incomplete and preliminary. Finally, the limitations, improvements, and future research needs of this study were discussed.
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.
Clein, J. S., McGuire, A. D., Zhang, X., Kicklighter, D. W., Melillo, J. M., Wofsy, S. C., Jarvis, P. G., Massheder, J. M. (2002). Historical and projected carbon balance of mature black spruce ecosystems across North America: the role of carbon-nitrogen interactions. Plant And SoilPlant Soil 242 (1): 15-32
ABSTRACT: The role of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) interactions on sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in black spruce ecosystems across North America was evaluated with the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) by applying parameterizations of the model in which C–N dynamics were either coupled or uncoupled. First, the performance of the parameterizations, which were developed for the dynamics of black spruce ecosystems at the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research site in Alaska, were evaluated by simulating C dynamics at eddy correlation tower sites in the Boreal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) for black spruce ecosystems in the northern study area (northern site) and the southern study area (southern site) with local climate data. We compared simulated monthly growing season (May to September) estimates of gross primary production (GPP), total ecosystem respiration (RESP), and net ecosystem production (NEP) from 1994 to 1997 to available field-based estimates at both sites. At the northern site, monthly growing season estimates of GPP and RESP for the coupled and uncoupled simulations were highly correlated with the field-based estimates (coupled: R2 = 0.77, 0.88 for GPP and RESP; uncoupled: R2 = 0.67, 0.92 for GPP and RESP). Although the simulated seasonal pattern of NEP generally matched the field-based data, the correlations between field-based and simulated monthly growing season NEP were lower (R2 = 0.40, 0.00 for coupled and uncoupled simulations, respectively) in comparison to the correlations between field-based and simulated GPP and RESP. The annual NEP simulated by the coupled parameterization fell within the uncertainty of field-based estimates in two of three years. On the other hand, annual NEP simulated by the uncoupled parameterization only fell within the field-based uncertainty in one of three years. At the southern site, simulated NEP generally matched field-based NEP estimates, and the correlation between monthly growing season field-based and simulated NEP (R2 = 0.36, 0.20 for coupled and uncoupled simulations, respectively) was similar to the correlations at the northern site. To evaluate the role of N dynamics in C balance of black spruce ecosystems across North America, we simulated historical and projected C dynamics from 1900 to 2100 with a global-based climatology at 0.5° resolution (latitude × longitude) with both the coupled and uncoupled parameterizations of TEM. From analyses at the northern site, several consistent patterns emerge. There was greater inter-annual variability in net primary production (NPP) simulated by the uncoupled parameterization as compared to the coupled parameterization, which led to substantial differences in inter-annual variability in NEP between the parameterizations. The divergence between NPP and heterotrophic respiration was greater in the uncoupled simulation, resulting in more C sequestration during the projected period. These responses were the result of fundamentally different responses of the coupled and uncoupled parameterizations to changes in CO2 and climate.
Davi, H., Dufrene, E., Francois, C., Le Maire, G., Loustau, D., Bosc, A., Rambal, S., Granier, A., Moors, E. (2006). Sensitivity of water and carbon fluxes to climate changes from 1960 to 2100 in European forest ecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 141 (1): 35-56
ABSTRACT: The effects of climate changes on carbon and water fluxes are quantified using a physiologically multi-layer, process-based model containing a carbon allocation model and coupled with a soil model (CASTANEA). The model is first evaluated on four EUROFLUX sites using eddy covariance data, which provide estimates of carbon and water fluxes at the ecosystem scale. It correctly reproduces the diurnal fluxes and the seasonal pattern. Thereafter simulations were conducted on six French forest ecosystems representative of three climatic areas (oceanic, continental and Mediterranean areas) dominated by deciduous species (Fagus sylvatica ,Quercus robur ), coniferous species (Pinus pinaster ,Pinus sylvestris ) or sclerophyllous evergreen species (Quercus ilex ). The model is driven by the results of a meteorological model (ARPEGE) following the B2 scenario of IPCC. From 1960 to 2100, the average temperature increases by 3.1 °C (30%) and the rainfall during summer decreases by 68 mm (-27%). For all the sites, between the two periods, the simulations predict on average a gross primary production (GPP) increase of 513 g(C) m-2 (+38%). This increase is relatively steep until 2020, followed by a slowing down of the GPP rise due to an increase of the effect of water stress. Contrary to GPP, the ecosystem respiration (Reco) raises at a constant rate (350 g(C) m-2 i.e. 31% from 1960 to 2100). The dynamics of the net ecosystem productivity (GPP minus Reco) is the consequence of the effect on both GPP and Reco and differs per site. The ecosystems always remain carbon sinks; however the sink strength globally decreases for coniferous (-8%), increases for sclerophyllous evergreen (+34%) and strongly increases for deciduous forest (+67%) that largely benefits by the lengthening of the foliated period. The separately quantified effects of the main variables (temperature, length of foliated season, CO2 fertilization, drought effect), show that the magnitude of these effects depends on the species and the climatic zone.
Euskirchen, E. S., Mcguire, A. D., Kicklighter, D. W., Zhuang, Q., Clein, J. S., Dargaville, R. J., Dye, D. G., Kimball, J. S., Mcdonald, K. C., Melillo, J. M., Romanovsky, V. E., Smith, N. V. (2006). Importance of recent shifts in soil thermal dynamics on growing season length, productivity, and carbon sequestration in terrestrial high-latitude ecosystems. Global Change Biology 12 (4): 731-750
ABSTRACT: In terrestrial high-latitude regions, observations indicate recent changes in snow cover, permafrost, and soil freeze–thaw transitions due to climate change. These modifications may result in temporal shifts in the growing season and the associated rates of terrestrial productivity. Changes in productivity will influence the ability of these ecosystems to sequester atmospheric CO2 . We use the terrestrial ecosystem model (TEM), which simulates the soil thermal regime, in addition to terrestrial carbon (C), nitrogen and water dynamics, to explore these issues over the years 1960–2100 in extratropical regions (30–90°N). Our model simulations show decreases in snow cover and permafrost stability from 1960 to 2100. Decreases in snow cover agree well with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite observations collected between the years 1972 and 2000, with Pearson rank correlation coefficients between 0.58 and 0.65. Model analyses also indicate a trend towards an earlier thaw date of frozen soils and the onset of the growing season in the spring by approximately 2–4 days from 1988 to 2000. Between 1988 and 2000, satellite records yield a slightly stronger trend in thaw and the onset of the growing season, averaging between 5 and 8 days earlier. In both, the TEM simulations and satellite records, trends in day of freeze in the autumn are weaker, such that overall increases in growing season length are due primarily to earlier thaw. Although regions with the longest snow cover duration displayed the greatest increase in growing season length, these regions maintained smaller increases in productivity and heterotrophic respiration than those regions with shorter duration of snow cover and less of an increase in growing season length. Concurrent with increases in growing season length, we found a reduction in soil C and increases in vegetation C, with greatest losses of soil C occurring in those areas with more vegetation, but simulations also suggest that this trend could reverse in the future. Our results reveal noteworthy changes in snow, permafrost, growing season length, productivity, and net C uptake, indicating that prediction of terrestrial C dynamics from one decade to the next will require that large-scale models adequately take into account the corresponding changes in soil thermal regimes.
Grant, R.F., Black, T.A., Gaumont-Guay, D., Klujn, N., Barr, A.G., Morgenstern, K., Nesic, Z. (2006). Net ecosystem productivity of boreal aspen forests under drought and climate change: Mathematical modelling with Ecosys. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 140 (1-4): 152-170
ABSTRACT: The net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of boreal aspen is strongly affected by comparative rates of annual potential evapotranspiration (Ea ) and precipitation (Pa ). Changes in Ea versus Pa during future climate change will likely determine changes in aspen NEP and consequently the magnitude of the carbon sink/source of a significant part of the boreal forest. We hypothesize that the effects of Ea versus Pa on aspen NEP can be modelled with a soil–root–canopy hydraulic resistance scheme coupled to a canopy energy balance closure scheme that determines canopy water status and thereby CO2 uptake. As part of the ecosystem model ecosys, these schemes were used to model diurnal declines in CO2 and latent heat (LE) exchange during a 3-year drought (2001–2003) at the Fluxnet-Canada Research Network (FCRN) southern old aspen site (SOA). These declines were consistent with those measured by eddy covariance (EC) at SOA, except that ecosystem CO2 effluxes modelled during most nights were larger that those measured by EC or gap-filled from other EC measurements. Soil CO2 effluxes in the model were close to, but sometimes smaller than, those measured by automated surface chambers at SOA. Diurnal declines in CO2 exchange during the drought caused declines in annual NEP in the model, and in gap-filled EC measurements (model versus EC in g C m−2 : 275 versus 367 ± 110 in 2001, 82 versus 144 ± 43 in 2002 and 23 versus 104 ± 31 in 2003). Lower modelled NEP was attributed to the larger modelled CO2 effluxes. Ecosys was then used to predict changes in aspen net biome productivity (NBP = NEP − C lost from disturbance) caused by 6-year versus 3-year recurring droughts during 100-year fire cycles under current climate versus climate change projected under the IPCC SRES A1B scenario. Although NBP was adversely affected during recurring 6-year droughts under current climate, it recovered quickly during non-drought years so that long-term NBP was maintained at 4 g C m−2 year−1 . NBP rose by 10, 108 and 126 g C m−2 year−1 during the first, second and third centuries under climate change with recurring 3-year droughts, indicating a gradual rise in sink activity by boreal aspen. However recurring 6-year droughts during climate change caused recurring negative NBP (C losses), gradually depleting aspen C reserves and eventually causing dieback of the aspen overstory during the third century of climate change. This dieback was followed by a large decline in NBP.
Hajkowicz, S., Perraud, J. M., Dawes, W., DeRose, R. (2005). The strategic landscape investment model: a tool for mapping optimal environmental expenditure.. Environmental Modelling and Software 20 (10): 1251-1262
ABSTRACT: This paper presents the strategic landscape investment model (SLIM). This tool can be used to map optimal landscape treatment patterns at regional scales. Developed for New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, SLIM aims to maximise an indexed measure of environmental benefit within a budget constraint. The attributes considered include salinity, water yield, nitrogen run-off, phosphorus run-off, stream sediment concentrations, soil erosion and carbon sequestration. The modelling is undertaken spatially with a roughly 1 km2 grid covering NSW. With estimates of costs and benefits, maps of marginal environmental benefit per dollar expended can be constructed. These maps are used to define an optimal treatment pattern within the confines of a program budget. SLIM is demonstrated through an analysis of perennial pasture establishment on NSW grazing lands. It was found that the optimal treatment area is around 4% of the total treatable area, demonstrating the importance of careful investment targeting. Through sensitivity analysis it is found that the location of optimal landscape treatment patterns is relatively robust under numerous attribute weighting scenarios. The paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of SLIM considering how improved analytic capabilities could be added to future revisions.
Hanson, P. J., Amthor, J. S., Wullschleger, S. D., Wilson, K. B., Grant, R. E., Hartley, A., Hui, D., Hunt, E. R., Johnson, D. W., Kimball, J. S., King, A. W., Luo, Y., Mcnulty, S. G., Sun, G., Thornton, P. E., Wang, S., Williams, M., Baldocchi, D. D., Cushman, R. M. (2004). Oak forest carbon and water simulations: model intercomparisons and evaluations against independent data. Ecological Monographs 74 (3): 443-489
ABSTRACT: Models represent our primary method for integration of small-scale, process-level phenomena into a comprehensive description of forest-stand or ecosystem function. They also represent a key method for testing hypotheses about the response of forest ecosystems to multiple changing environmental conditions. This paper describes the evaluation of 13 stand-level models varying in their spatial, mechanistic, and temporal complexity for their ability to capture intra- and interannual components of the water and carbon cycle for an upland, oak-dominated forest of eastern Tennessee. Comparisons between model simulations and observations were conducted for hourly, daily, and annual time steps. Data for the comparisons were obtained from a wide range of methods including: eddy covariance, sapflow, chamber-based soil respiration, biometric estimates of stand-level net primary production and growth, and soil water content by time or frequency domain reflectometry. Response surfaces of carbon and water flux as a function of environmental drivers, and a variety of goodness-of-fit statistics (bias, absolute bias, and model efficiency) were used to judge model performance.
A single model did not consistently perform the best at all time steps or for all variables considered. Intermodel comparisons showed good agreement for water cycle fluxes, but considerable disagreement among models for predicted carbon fluxes. The mean of all model outputs, however, was nearly always the best fit to the observations. Not surprisingly, models missing key forest components or processes, such as roots or modeled soil water content, were unable to provide accurate predictions of ecosystem responses to short-term drought phenomenon. Nevertheless, an inability to correctly capture short-term physiological processes under drought was not necessarily an indicator of poor annual water and carbon budget simulations. This is possible because droughts in the subject ecosystem were of short duration and therefore had a small cumulative impact. Models using hourly time steps and detailed mechanistic processes, and having a realistic spatial representation of the forest ecosystem provided the best predictions of observed data. Predictive ability of all models deteriorated under drought conditions, suggesting that further work is needed to evaluate and improve ecosystem model performance under unusual conditions, such as drought, that are a common focus of environmental change discussions.
M. Huang, J. Ji., K. Li, Y. Liu, F. Yang, B. Tao (2007). The ecosystem carbon accumulation after conversion of grasslands to pine plantations in subtropical red soil of South China. Tellus B 59 (3): 439-448
ABSTRACT: Since 1980s, afforestation in China has led to the establishment of over 0.53 × 108 ha of new plantation forests. While this leads to rapid accumulation of carbon (C) in vegetation, the effects of afforestation on soil C are poorly understood. In this study, a new version of the Atmosphere-Vegetation Interaction Model (AVIM2) was used to examine how changes in plant C inputs following afforestation might lead to changes in soil C at one of the Chinaflux sites and to estimate the effect of afforestation on ex-grassland. The potential total C accumulation of tree plantation was also predicted. The model was calibrated by net ecosystem exchange (NEE), ecosystem respiration (RE) and gross primary production (GPP) based on eddy-covariance measurements. The simulated vegetation C and soil C stocks were compared with the filed observations.
The simulates indicate that after 22 yr of conversion of grassland to needle leaf forests (Pinus massoniana andPinus elliottii ), the net carbon accumulation in tree ecosystem was 1.96 times more than that in grassland. The soil C in the initial 7 yr of planting decreased at a rate of 0.1871 kg C m−2 yr−1 , and after that it increased at a rate of 0.090 kg C m−2 yr−1 . The C accumulation in the studied plantation ecosystem is estimated to be 76–81% of that value in equilibrium state (the net ecosystem productivity approaches to zero).
Sensitivity analyses show that conversion from grassland to plantation caused an initial (7 or 8 yr) periods of decrease in soil C stocks in wider red soil area of southern China. The soil C stocks were reduced between 19.2 and 20.4% in the initial decreasing period. After 7 or 8 yr C loss, the increased in soil C stocks was predicted to be between 0.073 and 0.074 kg C m−2 yr−1 .
Ito, A. (2005). Climate-related uncertainties in projections of the twenty-first century terrestrial carbon budget: off-line model experiments using IPCC greenhouse-gas scenarios and AOGCM climate projections. Climate Dynamics 24 (5): 435-448
ABSTRACT: A terrestrial ecosystem model (Sim-CYCLE) was driven by multiple climate projections to investigate uncertainties in predicting the interactions between global environmental change and the terrestrial carbon cycle. Sim-CYCLE has a spatial resolution of 0.5°, and mechanistically evaluates photosynthetic and respiratory CO2 exchange. Six scenarios for atmospheric-CO2 concentrations in the twenty-first century, proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, were considered. For each scenario, climate projections by a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) were used to assess the uncertainty due to socio-economic predictions. Under a single CO2 scenario, climate projections with seven AOGCMs were used to investigate the uncertainty stemming from uncertainty in the climate simulations. Increases in global photosynthesis and carbon storage differed considerably among scenarios, ranging from 23 to 37% and from 24 to 81 Pg C, respectively. Among the AOGCM projections, increases ranged from 26 to 33% and from 48 to 289 Pg C, respectively. There were regional heterogeneities in both climatic change and carbon budget response, and different carbon-cycle components often responded differently to a given environmental change. Photosynthetic CO2 fixation was more sensitive to atmospheric CO2 , whereas soil carbon storage was more sensitive to temperature. Consequently, uncertainties in the CO2 scenarios and climatic projections may create additional uncertainties in projecting atmospheric-CO2 concentrations and climates through the interactive feedbacks between the atmosphere and the terrestrial ecosystem.
Ito, A. (2007). Simulated impacts of climate and land-cover change on soil erosion and implication for the carbon cycle, 1901 to 2100. Geophysical Research Letters 34 (L09403): doi:10.1029/2007GL029342
ABSTRACT: The impacts of climatic change and land-cover change on soil carbon displacement by water erosion were investigated using a global ecosystem carbon cycle model (Sim-CYCLE) and an empirical erosion model (RUSLE). Simulations considering the climate and land-cover changes were performed in two phases, from 1901 to 1990 on the basis of historical data, and from 1991 to 2100 using climate projections in the IPCC Forth Assessment Report. During the first phase, total lateral displacement of soil carbon was estimated to be 1.6 ± 0.1 Pg C y−1 with remarkable geographical heterogeneity, and it was gradually intensified in regions where forests were converted into croplands. During the second phase, both projected rainfall and land-use changes affected the erosion regime in many regions. Consequently, the total amount of soil carbon displacement increased by 32–57%, implying an intensified vulnerability to soil loss and further perturbations in the carbon cycle.
ABSTRACT: The hydrological cycle has significant effects on the terrestrial carbon (C) balance through its controls on photosynthesis and C decomposition. A detailed representation of the water cycle in terrestrial C cycle models is essential for reliable estimates of C budgets. However, it is challenging to accurately describe the spatial and temporal variations of soil water, especially for regional and global applications. Vertical and horizontal movements of soil water should be included. To constrain the hydrology-related uncertainty in modelling the regional C balance, a three-dimensional hydrological module was incorporated into the Integrated Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon-budget model (InTEC V3.0). We also added an explicit parameterization of wetlands. The inclusion of the hydrological module considerably improved the model's ability to simulate C content and balances in different ecosystems. Compared with measurements at five flux-tower sites, the model captured 85% and 82% of the variations in volumetric soil moisture content in the 0–10 cm and 10–30 cm depths during the growing season and 84% of the interannual variability in the measured C balance. The simulations showed that lateral subsurface water redistribution is a necessary mechanism for simulating water table depth for both poorly drained forest and peatland sites. Nationally, soil C content and their spatial variability are significantly related to drainage class. Poorly drained areas are important C sinks at the regional scale, however, their soil C content and balances are difficult to model and may have been inadequately represented in previous C cycle models. The InTEC V3.0 model predicted an annual net C uptake by Canada's forests and wetlands for the period 1901–1998 of 111.9 Tg C yr−1 , which is 41.4 Tg C yr−1 larger than our previous estimate (InTEC V2.0). The increase in the net C uptake occurred mainly in poorly drained regions and resulted from the inclusion of a separate wetland parameterization and a detailed hydrologic module with lateral flow in InTEC V3.0.
Kennedy, M., Anderson, C., O'Hagan, A., Lomas, M., Woodward, I., Gosling, J.P., Heinemeyer, A. (2008). Quantifying uncertainty in the biospheric carbon flux for England and Wales. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A: Statistics in Society 171 (1): 109-135
SUMMARY: A crucial issue in the current global warming debate is the effect of vegetation and soils on carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentrations in the atmosphere. Vegetation can extract CO2 through photosynthesis, but respiration, decay of soil organic matter and disturbance effects such as fire return it to the atmosphere. The balance of these processes is the net carbon flux. To estimate the biospheric carbon flux for England and Wales, we address the statistical problem of inference for the sum of multiple outputs from a complex deterministic computer code whose input parameters are uncertain. The code is a process model which simulates the carbon dynamics of vegetation and soils, including the amount of carbon that is stored as a result of photosynthesis and the amount that is returned to the atmosphere through respiration. The aggregation of outputs corresponding to multiple sites and types of vegetation in a region gives an estimate of the total carbon flux for that region over a period of time. Expert prior opinions are elicited for marginal uncertainty about the relevant input parameters and for correlations of inputs between sites. A Gaussian process model is used to build emulators of the multiple code outputs and Bayesian uncertainty analysis is then used to propagate uncertainty in the input parameters through to uncertainty on the aggregated output. Numerical results are presented for England and Wales in the year 2000. It is estimated that vegetation and soils in England and Wales constituted a net sink of 7.55 Mt C (1 Mt C = 1012 g of carbon) in 2000, with standard deviation 0.56 Mt C resulting from the sources of uncertainty that are considered.
Kirschbaum, M.U.F., Guo, L. B., Gifford, R. M. (2008). Why does rainfall affect the trend in soil carbon after converting pastures to forests?: A possible explanation based on nitrogen dynamics. Forest Ecology and Management 255 (7): 2990-3000
ABSTRACT: When trees are planted onto former pastures, soil carbon stocks typically either remain constant or decrease, with decreases more common in regions with higher rainfall. We conducted a modelling analysis to assess whether those changes in soil carbon, especially the interaction with rainfall, could be understood through consideration of nitrogen balances. The study was based on simulations with the whole-system ecophysiological model CenW which allowed explicit modelling of both carbon and nitrogen pools and their fluxes through plants and soil organic matter.
We found that in a modelled coniferous forest without excess water input, total system nitrogen stocks remained similar to pre-forestation values because there were few pathways for nitrogen losses, and without biological nitrogen fixation or fertiliser inputs, gains were restricted to small inputs from atmospheric deposition. However, tree biomass and the litter layer accumulated considerable amounts of nitrogen. This accumulation of nitrogen came at the expense of depleting soil nitrogen stocks. With the change from input of grass litter that is low in lignin to forest litter with higher lignin concentration, organic-matter C:N ratios increased so that more carbon could be stored per unit of soil nitrogen which partly negated the effect of reduced nitrogen stocks. The increase in C:N ratios was initially confined to the surface litter layer because of slow transfer of material to the mineral soil. Over a period of decades, soil C:N ratios eventually increased in the soil as well.
Simulations with different amounts of precipitation showed that greater amounts of nitrogen were leached from systems where water supply exceeded the plants’ requirements. Reduced nitrogen stocks then caused a subsequent reduction in soil organic carbon stocks. These simulations thus provided a consistent explanation for the observation of greater losses of soil organic carbon in high-rainfall systems after converting pastures to forests. More generally, the simulations showed that explicit modelling of the nitrogen cycle can put important constraints on possible changes in soil-carbon stocks that may occur after land-use change.
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: The effect of forest fires differing in intensity on organic matter dynamics in forest soils has been assessed in different types of forest sites using the EFIMOD system of models. Differences between the patterns of organic matter dynamics according to scenarios of forest ecosystem development under normal conditions and upon forest fires have been analyzed. Recovery rates of soil organic matter pools after fires depend on their intensity and frequency. The most profound changes take place upon high-intensity crown fires, which may even result in ecosystem destruction.
Lasch, Petra, Badeck, Franz-W., Suckow, Felicitas, Lindner, Marcus, Mohr, Peter (2005). Model-based analysis of management alternatives at stand and regional level in Brandenburg (Germany). Forest Ecology and Management 207 (1-2): 59-74
ABSTRACT: The model-based analysis of the effects of management options at stand and regional levels on forest functions such as carbon storage and groundwater recharge provides a basis for optimisation of forest planning under global change. The physiologically based model 4C (‘FORESEE’—FORESt Ecosystems in a changing Environment) can be used to evaluate a broad variety of silvicultural treatments for mono- and mixed-species forest stands. In this study, we present the testing and evaluation of the 4C management submodel, using data from long-term experimental plots in selected stands in the Federal State of Brandenburg, Germany. Comparison of experimental data with model simulations, by means of diameter distributions, demonstrated that the applied thinning operations preserved the diameter distribution of the stands. 4C realistically described the effects of management options on stand dynamics as proved by long-term simulations. Furthermore, the investigation of the effects of management options, thinning intensity, and rotation length on carbon storage in biomass and soil, yield, and groundwater recharge showed the applicability of the model 4C for the evaluation of forest functions in managed forests.
We present the analysis of management effects on forest functions at a regional scale, based on a grid of forest monitoring sites (“Ökologische Waldzustandskontrolle”—ÖWK) in Brandenburg, which is mainly dominated by Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). The model was applied at the sites with three management options under current climate and a climate change scenario (i.e., temperature increase of 1.4 °K by 2055). The results of 50-year simulation runs were analysed for forest growth units with respect to total carbon storage (Csum ) and groundwater recharge. More intensive management decreased the Csum after 50 years and slightly increased groundwater recharge. Climate change led to a reduction of groundwater recharge by about 40%, averaged over all sites. Csum was increased at some sites because of the extension of the growing season in spite of slight decreases in precipitation, but at several other sites, Csum decreased due to increased dryness. The question arises whether these negative effects of climate change can be minimised by adaptive management operations. In this study, we concluded that the potentials of adaptive management based on changes in rotation length and thinning is very limited in this region, which is characterised by poor sites and dry climatic conditions. We concluded that it is necessary to include forest transformation strategies in management impact analyses for forest planning under global change.
Law, B. E., Thornton, P.E., Irvine, J., Anthoni, P.M., Van Tuyl, S. (2001). Carbon storage and fluxes in ponderosa pine forests at different developmental stages.. Global Change Biology 7 (7): 755-777
ABSTRACT: We compared carbon storage and fluxes in young and old ponderosa pine stands in Oregon, including plant and soil storage, net primary productivity, respiration fluxes, eddy flux estimates of net ecosystem exchange (NEE), and Biome-BGC simulations of fluxes. The young forest (Y site) was previously an old-growth ponderosa pine forest that had been clearcut in 1978, and the old forest (O site), which has never been logged, consists of two primary age classes (50 and 250 years old). Total ecosystem carbon content (vegetation, detritus and soil) of theO forest was about twice that of theY site (21 vs. 10 kg C m−2 ground), and significantly more of the total is stored in living vegetation at theO site (61% vs. 15%). Ecosystem respiration (Re) was higher at theO site (1014 vs. 835 g C m−2 year−1 ), and it was largely from soils at both sites (77% of Re). The biological data show that above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP), NPP and net ecosystem production (NEP) were greater at theO site than theY site. Monte Carlo estimates of NEP show that the young site is a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, and is significantly lower than NEP(O) by c. 100 g C m−2 year−1. Eddy covariance measurements also show that the O site was a stronger sink for CO2 than the Y site. Across a 15-km swath in the region, ANPP ranged from 76 g C m−2 year−1 at the Y site to 236 g C m−2 year−1 (overall mean 158 ± 14 g C m−2 year−1 ). The lowest ANPP values were for the youngest and oldest stands, but there was a large range of ANPP for mature stands. Carbon, water and nitrogen cycle simulations with the Biome-BGC model suggest that disturbance type and frequency, time since disturbance, age-dependent changes in below-ground allocation, and increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 all exert significant control on the net ecosystem exchange of carbon at the two sites. Model estimates of major carbon flux components agree with budget-based observations to within ± 20%, with larger differences for NEP and for several storage terms. Simulations showed the period of regrowth required to replace carbon lost during and after a stand-replacing fire (O ) or a clearcut (Y ) to be between 50 and 100 years. In both cases, simulations showed a shift from net carbon source to net sink (on an annual basis) 10–20 years after disturbance. These results suggest that the net ecosystem production of young stands may be low because heterotrophic respiration, particularly from soils, is higher than the NPP of the regrowth. The amount of carbon stored in long-term pools (biomass and soils) in addition to short-term fluxes has important implications for management of forests in the Pacific North-west for carbon sequestration.
ABSTRACT: Meta-analysis is a quantitative synthetic research method that statistically integrates results from individual studies to find common trends and differences. With increasing concern over global change, meta-analysis has been rapidly adopted in global change research. Here, we introduce the methodologies, advantages and disadvantages of meta-analysis, and review its application in global climate change research, including the responses of ecosystems to global warming and rising CO2 and O3 concentrations, the effects of land use and management on climate change and the effects of disturbances on biogeochemistry cycles of ecosystem. Despite limitation and potential misapplication, meta-analysis has been demonstrated to be a much better tool than traditional narrative review in synthesizing results from multiple studies. Several methodological developments for research synthesis have not yet been widely used in global climate change researches such as cumulative meta-analysis and sensitivity analysis. It is necessary to update the results of meta-analysis on a given topic at regular intervals by including newly published studies. Emphasis should be put on multi-factor interaction and long-term experiments. There is great potential to apply meta-analysis to global climate change research in China because research and observation networks have been established (e.g. ChinaFlux and CERN), which create the need for combining these data and results to provide support for governments’ decision making on climate change. It is expected that meta-analysis will be widely adopted in future climate change research.
Lenton, T., Williamson, M., Edwards, N., Marsh, R., Price, A., Ridgwell, A., Shepherd, J., Cox, S., The GENIE team (2006). Millennial timescale carbon cycle and climate change in an efficient Earth system model. Climate Dynamics 26 (7-8): 687-711
ABSTRACT: A new Earth system model, GENIE-1, is presented which comprises a 3-D frictional geostrophic ocean, phosphate-restoring marine biogeochemistry, dynamic and thermodynamic sea-ice, land surface physics and carbon cycling, and a seasonal 2-D energy-moisture balance atmosphere. Three sets of model climate parameters are used to explore the robustness of the results and for traceability to earlier work. The model versions have climate sensitivity of 2.8–3.3°C and predict atmospheric CO2 close to present observations. Six idealized total fossil fuel CO2 emissions scenarios are used to explore a range of 1,100–15,000 GtC total emissions and the effect of rate of emissions. Atmospheric CO2 approaches equilibrium in year 3000 at 420–5,660 ppmv, giving 1.5–12.5°C global warming. The ocean is a robust carbon sink of up to 6.5 GtC year−1 . Under ‘business as usual’, the land becomes a carbon source around year 2100 which peaks at up to 2.5 GtC year−1 . Soil carbon is lost globally, boreal vegetation generally increases, whilst under extreme forcing, dieback of some tropical and sub-tropical vegetation occurs. Average ocean surface pH drops by up to 1.15 units. A Greenland ice sheet melt threshold of 2.6°C local warming is only briefly exceeded if total emissions are limited to 1,100 GtC, whilst 15,000 GtC emissions cause complete Greenland melt by year 3000, contributing 7 m to sea level rise. Total sea-level rise, including thermal expansion, is 0.4–10 m in year 3000 and ongoing. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation shuts down in two out of three model versions, but only under extreme emissions including exotic fossil fuel resources.
ABSTRACT: • Plant invasion potentially alters ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles. However, the overall direction and magnitude of such alterations are poorly quantified.
• Here, 94 experimental studies were synthesized, using a meta-analysis approach, to quantify the changes of 20 variables associated with C and N cycles, including their pools, fluxes, and other related parameters in response to plant invasion.
• Pool variables showed significant changes in invaded ecosystems relative to native ecosystems, ranging from a 5% increase in root carbon stock to a 133% increase in shoot C stock. Flux variables, such as above-ground net primary production and litter decomposition, increased by 50–120% in invaded ecosystems, compared with native ones. Plant N concentration, soil NH4 + and NO3 - concentrations were 40, 30 and 17% higher in invaded than in native ecosystems, respectively. Increases in plant production and soil N availability indicate that there was positive feedback between plant invasion and C and N cycles in invaded ecosystems.
• Invasions by woody and N-fixing plants tended to have greater impacts on C and N cycles than those by herbaceous and nonN-fixing plants, respectively. The responses to plant invasion are not different among forests, grasslands, and wetlands. All of these changes suggest that plant invasion profoundly influences ecosystem processes.
McGuire, A.D., Melillo, J.M., Kicklighter, D.W., Joyce, L. A. (1995). Equilibrium responses of soil carbon to climate change: empirical and process-based estimates. Journal of Biogeography 22 (4/5): 785-796
ABSTRACT: We use a new version of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM), which has been parameterized to control for reactive soil organic carbon (SOC) across climatic gradients, to evaluate the sensitivity of SOC to a 1°C warming in both empirical and process-based analyses. In the empirical analyses we use the steady state SOC estimates of TEM to derive SOC-response equations that depend on temperature and volumetric soil moisture, and extrapolate them across the terrestrial biosphere at 0.5° spatial resolution. For contemporary climate and atmospheric CO2 , mean annual temperature explains 34.8% of the variance in the natural logarithm of TEM-estimated SOC. Because the inclusion of mean annual volumetric soil moisture in the regression explains an additional 19.6%, a soil mosture term in an equation of SOC response should improve estimates. For a 1°C warming, the globally derived empirical model estimates a terrestrial SOC loss of 22.6 x 1015 g (Pg), with 77.9% of the loss in extra-tropical ecosystems. To explore whether loss estimates SOC are affected by the spatial scale at which the response equations are derived equations for each of the eighteen ecosystems considered in this study. The sensitivity of terrestrial SOC estimated by summing the losses predicted by each of the ecosystem empirical models is greater (27.9 Pg per °C) than that estimated by the global empirical model; the 12.2 Pg loss (43.7%) in tropical ecosystems suggests that they may be more sensitive to warming. The global process-based loss of SOC estimated by TEM in response to a 1°C warming (26.3 Pg) is similar to the sum of the ecosystem empirical losses, but the 13.6 Pg loss (51.7%) in extra-tropical ecosystems suggests that they may be slightly less sensitive to warming. For the modelling of SOC responses, these results suggest that soil moisture is useful to incorporate in empirical models of SOC response and that globally derived empirical models may conceal regional sensitivity of SOC to warming. The analyses in this study suggest that the maximum loss of SOC to the atmosphere per °C warming is less than 2% of the terrestrial soil carbon inventory. Because the NPP response to elevated CO2 has the potential to compensate for this loss, the scenario of warming enhancing soil carbon loss to further enhance warming is unlikely in the absence of land use or changes in vegetation distribution.
McGuire, A.D., Melillo, J.M., Kicklighter, D.W., Pan, Y., Xiao, X., Helfrich, J., Moore, B., III, Vorosmarty, C.J., Schloss, A.L. (1997). Equilibrium responses of global net primary production and carbon storage to doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide: Sensitivity to changes in vegetation nitrogen concentration. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11 (2): 173-189
ABSTRACT: We ran the terrestrial ecosystem model (TEM) for the globe at 0.5° resolution for atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 340 and 680 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to evaluate global and regional responses of net primary production (NPP) and carbon storage to elevated CO2 for their sensitivity to changes in vegetation nitrogen concentration. At 340 ppmv, TEM estimated global NPP of 49.0 1015 g (Pg) C yr−1 and global total carbon storage of 1701.8 Pg C; the estimate of total carbon storage does not include the carbon content of inert soil organic matter. For the reference simulation in which doubled atmosphericCO2 was accompanied with no change in vegetation nitrogen concentration, global NPP increased 4.1 Pg C yr−1 (8.3%), and global total carbon storage increased 114.2 Pg C. To examine sensitivity in the global responses of NPP and carbon storage to decreases in the nitrogen concentration of vegetation, we compared doubled CO2 responses of the reference TEM to simulations in which the vegetation nitrogen concentration was reduced without influencing decomposition dynamics ("lower N" simulations) and to simulations in which reductions in vegetation nitrogen concentration influence decomposition dynamics ("lower N+D" simulations). We conducted three lower N simulations and three lower N+D simulations in which we reduced the nitrogen concentration of vegetation by 7.5, 15.0, and 22.5%. In the lower N simulations, the response of global NPP to doubled atmospheric CO2 increased approximately 2 Pg C yr−1 for each incremental 7.5% reduction in vegetation nitrogen concentration, and vegetation carbon increased approximately an additional 40 Pg C, and soil carbon increased an additional 30 Pg C, for a total carbon storage increase of approximately 70 Pg C. In the lower N+D simulations, the responses of NPP and vegetation carbon storage were relatively insensitive to differences in the reduction of nitrogen concentration, but soil carbon storage showed a large change. The insensitivity of NPP in the N+D simulations occurred because potential enhancements in NPP associated with reduced vegetation nitrogen concentration were approximately offset by lower nitrogen availability associated with the decomposition dynamics of reduced litter nitrogen concentration. For each 7.5% reduction in vegetation nitrogen concentration, soil carbon increased approximately an additional 60 Pg C, while vegetation carbon storage increased by only approximately 5 Pg C. As the reduction in vegetation nitrogen concentration gets greater in the lower N+D simulations, more of the additional carbon storage tends to become concentrated in the north temperate-boreal region in comparison to the tropics. Other studies with TEM show that elevated CO2 more than offsets the effects of climate change to cause increased carbon storage. The results of this study indicate that carbon storage would be enhanced by the influence of changes in plant nitrogen concentration on carbon assimilation and decomposition rates. Thus changes in vegetation nitrogen concentration may have important implications for the ability of the terrestrial biosphere to mitigate increases in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and climate changes associated with the increases.
Melillo, J. M., Borchers, J., Chaney, J., Fisher, H., Fox, S., Haxeltine, A., Janetos, A., Kicklighter, D. W., Kittel, T. G. F., Mcguire, A. D., Mckeown, R., Neilson, R., Nemani, R., Ojima, D. S., Painter, T., Pan, Y., Parton, W. J., Pierce, L., Pitelka, L., Prentice, C., Rizzo, B., Rosenbloom, N. A., Running, S., Schimel, D. S., Sitch, S., Smith, T., Woodward, I. (1995). Vegetation ecosystem modeling and analysis project - comparing biogeography and biogeochemistry models in a continental-scale study of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate-change and CO2 doubling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 9 (4): 407-437
ABSTRACT: We compare the simulations of three biogeography models (BIOME2, Dynamic Global Phytogeography Model (DOLY)5 and Mapped Atmosphere-Plant Soil System (MAPSS)) and three biogeochemistry models (BIOME-BGC (BioGeochemistry Cycles), CENTURY, and Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM)) for the conterminous United States under contemporary conditions of atmospheric CO2 and climate. We also compare the simulations of these models under doubled CO2 and a range of climate scenarios. For contemporary conditions, the biogeography models successfully simulate the geographic distribution of major vegetation types and have similar estimates of area for forests (42 to 46% of the conterminous United States), grasslands (17 to 27%), savannas (15 to 25%), and shrublands (14 to 18%). The biogeochemistry models estimate similar continental-scale net primary production (NPP; 3125 to 3772 × 1012 g C yr−1 ) and total carbon storage (108 to 118 × 1015 g C) for contemporary conditions. Among the scenarios of doubled CO2 and associated equilibrium climates produced by the three general circulation models (Oregon State University (OSU), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), and United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO)), all three biogeography models show both gains and losses of total forest area depending on the scenario (between 38 and 53% of conterminous United States area). The only consistent gains in forest area with all three models (BIOME2, DOLY, and MAPSS) were under the GFDL scenario due to large increases in precipitation. MAPSS lost forest area under UKMO, DOLY under OSU, and BIOME2 under both UKMO and OSU. The variability in forest area estimates occurs because the hydrologie cycles of the biogeography models have different sensitivities to increases in temperature and CO2 . However, in general, the biogeography models produced broadly similar results when incorporating both climate change and elevated CO2 concentrations. For these scenarios, the NPP estimated by the biogeochemistry models increases between 2% (BIOME-BGC with UKMO climate) and 35% (TEM with UKMO climate). Changes in total carbon storage range from losses of 33% (BIOME-BGC with UKMO climate) to gains of 16% (TEM with OSU climate). The CENTURY responses of NPP and carbon storage are positive and intermediate to the responses of BIOME-BGC and TEM. The variability in carbon cycle responses occurs because the hydrologie and nitrogen cycles of the biogeochemistry models have different sensitivities to increases in temperature and CO2. When the biogeochemistry models are run with the vegetation distributions of the biogeography models, NPP ranges from no response (BIOME-BGC with all three biogeography model vegetations for UKMO climate) to increases of 40% (TEM with MAPSS vegetation for OSU climate). The total carbon storage response ranges from a decrease of 39% (BIOME-BGC with MAPSS vegetation for UKMO climate) to an increase of 32% (TEM with MAPSS vegetation for OSU and GFDL climates). The UKMO responses of BIOME-BGC with MAPSS vegetation are primarily caused by decreases in forested area and temperature-induced water stress. The OSU and GFDL responses of TEM with MAPSS vegetations are primarily caused by forest expansion and temperature-enhanced nitrogen cycling.
Morales, P., Hickler, T., Rowell, D. P., Smith, B., Sykes, M. T. (2007). Changes in European ecosystem productivity and carbon balance driven by regional climate model output. Global Change Biology 13 (1): 108-122
ABSTRACT: Climate change resulting from the enhanced greenhouse effect together with the direct effect of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations on vegetation growth are expected to produce changes in the cycling of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Impacts will vary across Europe, and regional-scale studies are needed to resolve this variability. In this study, we used the LPJ-GUESS ecosystem model driven by a suite of regional climate model (RCM) scenarios from the European Union (EU) project PRUDENCE to estimate climate impacts on carbon cycling across Europe. We identified similarities and discrepancies in simulated climate impacts across scenarios, particularly analyzing the uncertainties arising from the range of climate models and emissions scenarios considered. Our results suggest that net primary production (NPP) and heterotrophic respiration (Rh) will generally increase throughout Europe, but with considerable variation between European subregions. The smallest NPP increases, and in some cases decreases, occurred in the Mediterranean, where many ecosystems switched from sinks to sources of carbon by 2100, mainly as a result of deteriorating water balance. Over the period 1991-2100, modeled climate change impacts on the European carbon balance ranged from a sink of 11.6 Gt C to a source of 3.3 Gt C, the average annual sink corresponding with 1.85% of the current EU anthropogenic emissions. Projected changes in carbon balance were more dependent on the choice of the general circulation model (GCM) providing boundary conditions to the RCM than the choice of RCM or the level of anthropogenic greenhouse gases emissions.
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.
Niyogi, D., Xue, Y. K. (2006). Soil moisture regulates the biological response of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations in a coupled atmosphere biosphere model. Global and Planetary Change 54 (1-2): 94-108
ABSTRACT: Terrestrial biosphere models/land surface models are routinely used to study the effects of CO2 doubling and climate change. The objective of this study is to show that the biological response associated with CO2 doubling is important, and that the effects intrinsically depend on the soil moisture state. Therefore, using a coupled biosphere–atmosphere model, we tested the hypothesis that the biological effects of CO2 changes in biosphere models are significantly coupled to the hydrological feedback via soil moisture availability in a terrestrial biosphere/land surface model. The results from a 15-day simulation of a photosynthesis-based land surface model, dynamically coupled to an atmospheric boundary layer and surface energy balance scheme, were analyzed to test the hypothesis. The objective was to analyze the biological effects of CO2 doubling under high as well as limiting soil moisture conditions for prescribed changes to the vegetation/land use type. The approach was to analyze the results from a coupled land surface-atmosphere model obtained by changing the biome type for each run. Sensitivity for all of the nine global vegetation type changes, as defined through the Simple Biosphere Model ver. 2 (SiB2) land cover classification, were analyzed for evapotranspiration and net carbon assimilation. The results indicated that: (i) the soil moisture (and its interaction with CO2 ) has a direct (first-order) effect on the biological effects of CO2 changes and the terrestrial ecosystem response; (ii) the biological impacts associated with CO2 changes in a biospheric model should be interpreted in consideration of the soil moisture status; and droughts or high soil moisture availability can enhance or completely balance or even reverse the effects associated with CO2 changes; (iii) for each vegetation type, the model results indicated a different response to soil moisture and CO2 changes; and resolving the direct and indirect effects explicitly, both C3 and C4 vegetation, appeared to be significantly affected by the biological effects of CO2 changes, and (iv) the explicit coupling between soil moisture/hydrological state and the CO2 changes need to be explicitly considered in projecting climate change impacts. The study results also indicated that feedback pathways can be efficiently determined by dissociating the direct and the interactive effects of CO2 impacts.
Pan, Y. D., Melillo, J. M., Mcguire, A. D., Kicklighter, D. W., Pitelka, L. F., Hibbard, K., Pierce, L. L., Running, S. W., Ojima, D. S., Parton, W. J., Schimel, D. S. (1998). Modeled responses of terrestrial ecosystems to elevated atmospheric CO2 : a comparison of cimulations by the biogeochemistry models of the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP). Oecologia 114 (3): 389-404
ABSTRACT: Although there is a great deal of information concerning responses to increases in atmospheric CO2 at the tissue and plant levels, there are substantially fewer studies that have investigated ecosystem-level responses in the context of integrated carbon, water, and nutrient cycles. Because our understanding of ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 is incomplete, modeling is a tool that can be used to investigate the role of plant and soil interactions in the response of terrestrial ecosystems to elevated CO2 . In this study, we analyze the responses of net primary production (NPP) to doubled CO2 from 355 to 710 ppmv among three biogeochemistry models in the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP): BIOME-BGC (BioGeochemical Cycles), Century, and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM). For the conterminous United States, doubled atmospheric CO2 causes NPP to increase by 5% in Century, 8% in TEM, and 11% in BIOME-BGC. Multiple regression analyses between the NPP response to doubled CO2 and the mean annual temperature and annual precipitation of biomes or grid cells indicate that there are negative relationships between precipitation and the response of NPP to doubled CO2 for all three models. In contrast, there are different relationships between temperature and the response of NPP to doubled CO2 for the three models: there is a negative relationship in the responses of BIOME-BGC, no relationship in the responses of Century, and a positive relationship in the responses of TEM. In BIOME-BGC, the NPP response to doubled CO2 is controlled by the change in transpiration associated with reduced leaf conductance to water vapor. This change affects soil water, then leaf area development and, finally, NPP. In Century, the response of NPP to doubled CO2 is controlled by changes in decomposition rates associated with increased soil moisture that results from reduced evapotranspiration. This change affects nitrogen availability for plants, which influences NPP. In TEM, the NPP response to doubled CO2 is controlled by increased carboxylation which is modified by canopy conductance and the degree to which nitrogen constraints cause down-regulation of photosynthesis. The implementation of these different mechanisms has consequences for the spatial pattern of NPP responses, and represents, in part, conceptual uncertainty about controls over NPP responses. Progress in reducing these uncertainties requires research focused at the ecosystem level to understand how interactions between the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles influence the response of NPP to elevated atmospheric CO2 .
ABSTRACT: • The Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment has been initiated at a site in southern Wyoming (USA) to simulate the impact of warming and elevated atmospheric CO2 on ecosystem dynamics for semiarid grassland ecosystems.
• The daycent ecosystem model was parametrized to simulate the impact of elevated CO2 at the open-top chamber (OTC) experiment in north-eastern Colorado (1996–2001), and was also used to simulate the projected ecosystem impact of the PHACE experiments during the next 10 yr.
• Model results suggest that soil water content, plant production, soil respiration, and nutrient mineralization will increase for the high-CO2 treatment. Soil water content will decrease for all years, while nitrogen mineralization, soil respiration, and plant production will both decrease and increase under warming depending on yearly differences in water stress. Net primary production (NPP) will be greatest under combined warming and elevated CO2 during wet years.
• Model results are consistent with empirical field data suggesting that water and nitrogen will be critical drivers of the semiarid grassland response to global change.
ABSTRACT: Modeling studies and observed data suggest that plant production, species distribution, disturbance regimes, grassland biome boundaries and secondary production (i.e., animal productivity) could be affected by potential changes in climate and by changes in land use practices. There are many studies in which computer models have been used to assess the impact of climate changes on grassland ecosystems. A global assessment of climate change impacts suggest that some grassland ecosystems will have higher plant production (humid temperate grasslands) while the production of extreme continental steppes (e.g., more arid regions of the temperate grasslands of North America and Eurasia) could be reduced substantially. All of the grassland systems studied are projected to lose soil carbon, with the greatest losses in the extreme continental grassland systems. There are large differences in the projected changes in plant production for some regions, while alterations in soil C are relatively similar over a range of climate change projections drawn from various General Circulation Models (GCM's). The potential impact of climatic change on cattle weight gains is unclear. The results of modeling studies also suggest that the direct impact of increased atmospheric CO2 on photosynthesis and water use in grasslands must be considered since these direct impacts could be as large as those due to climatic changes. In addition to its direct effects on photosynthesis and water use, elevated CO2 concentrations lower N content and reduce digestibility of the forage.
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
Peñuelas, J., Prieto, P., Beier, C., Cesaraccio, C., De Angelis, P., De Dato, G., Emmett, B. A., Estiarte, M., Garadnai, J., Gorissen, A., Láng, E. K., Kröel-Dulay, G., Llorens, L., Pellizzaro, G., Riis-Nielsen, T., Schmidt, I. K., Sirca, C., Sowerby, A., Spano, D., Tietema, A. (2007). Response of plant species richness and primary productivity in shrublands along a north–south gradient in Europe to seven years of experimental warming and drought: reductions in primary productivity in the heat and drought year of 2003. Global Change Biology 13 (12): 2563-2581
ABSTRACT: We used a nonintrusive field experiment carried out at six sites – Wales (UK), Denmark (DK), the Netherlands (NL), Hungary (HU), Sardinia (Italy – IT), and Catalonia (Spain – SP) – along a climatic and latitudinal gradient to examine the response of plant species richness and primary productivity to warming and drought in shrubland ecosystems. The warming treatment raised the plot daily temperature by ca. 1 °C, while the drought treatment led to a reduction in soil moisture at the peak of the growing season that ranged from 26% at the SP site to 82% in the NL site. During the 7 years the experiment lasted (1999–2005), we used the pin-point method to measure the species composition of plant communities and plant biomass, litterfall, and shoot growth of the dominant plant species at each site. A significantly lower increase in the number of species pin-pointed per transect was found in the drought plots at the SP site, where the plant community was still in a process of recovering from a forest fire in 1994. No changes in species richness were found at the other sites, which were at a more mature and stable state of succession and, thus less liable to recruitment of new species. The relationship between annual biomass accumulation and temperature of the growing season was positive at the coldest site and negative at the warmest site. The warming treatment tended to increase the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) at the northern sites. The relationship between annual biomass accumulation and soil moisture during the growing season was not significant at the wettest sites, but was positive at the driest sites. The drought treatment tended to reduce the ANPP in the NL, HU, IT, and SP sites. The responses to warming were very strongly related to the Gaussen aridity index (stronger responses the lower the aridity), whereas the responses to drought were not. Changes in the annual aboveground biomass accumulation, litterfall, and, thus, the ANPP, mirrored the interannual variation in climate conditions: the most outstanding change was a decrease in biomass accumulation and an increase in litterfall at most sites during the abnormally hot year of 2003. Species richness also tended to decrease in 2003 at all sites except the cold and wet UK site. Species-specific responses to warming were found in shoot growth: at the SP site,Globularia alypum was not affected, while the other dominant species,Erica multiflora , grew 30% more; at the UK site,Calluna vulgaris tended to grow more in the warming plots, whileEmpetrum nigrum tended to grow less. Drought treatment decreased plant growth in several studied species, although there were some species such asPinus halepensis at the SP site orC. vulgaris at the UK site that were not affected. The magnitude of responses to warming and drought thus depended greatly on the differences between sites, years, and species and these multiple plant responses may be expected to have consequences at ecosystem and community level. Decreases in biodiversity and the increase inE. multiflora growth at the SP site as a response to warming challenge the assumption that sensitivity to warming may be less well developed at more southerly latitudes; likewise, the fact that one of the studied shrublands presented negative ANPP as a response to the 2003 heat wave also challenges the hypothesis that future climate warming will lead to an enhancement of plant growth and carbon sequestration in temperate ecosystems. Extreme events may thus change the general trend of increased productivity in response to warming in the colder sites.
Pepper, D. A., Del Grosso, S. J., Mcmurtrie, R. E., Parton, W. J. (2005). Simulated carbon sink response of shortgrass steppe, tallgrass prairie and forest ecosystems to rising [CO2 ], temperature and nitrogen input. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 19 (GB1004): doi:10.1029/2004GB002226
ABSTRACT: The response of plant ecosystems to environmental change will determine whether the terrestrial biosphere will remain a substantial carbon sink or become a source during the next century. We use two ecosystem models, the Generic Decomposition And Yield model (G'DAY) and the daily time step version of the Century model (DAYCENT), to simulate net ecosystem productivity (NEP) for three contrasting ecosystems (shortgrass steppe in Colorado, tallgrass prairie in Kansas, and Norway spruce in Sweden) with varying degrees of water, temperature, and nutrient limitation, to determine responses to gradual increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2 ]), temperature, and nitrogen input over 100 years. Using G'DAY, under rising [CO2 ], there is evidence of C sink “saturation,” defined here as positive NEP reaching an upper limit and then declining toward zero, at all three sites (due largely to increased N immobilization in soil organic matter) but a positive C sink is sustained throughout the 100 years. DAYCENT also predicts a sustained C sink at all three sites under rising [CO2 ], with evidence of C sink saturation for the Colorado grassland and the C sink levels off after 80 years for the Kansas grassland. Warming reduces soil C and the C sink in both grassland ecosystems but increases the C sink in the forest. Warming increases decomposition and soil N mineralization, which stimulates net primary productivity (NPP) at all sites except when inducing water limitation. At the forest site some of the enhanced N release is allocated to a woody biomass pool with a low N:C ratio so that warming enhances NEP without increased N input at the forest site, but not at the grassland sites. Responses to combinations of treatments are generally additive for DAYCENT but more interactive for G'DAY, especially under combined rising [CO2 ] and warming at the strongly water- and N-limited shortgrass steppe. Increasing N input alleviates C sink saturation and enhances NEP, NPP, and soil C at all sites. At the water-limited grassland sites the effect of rising [CO2 ] on growth is greatest during the drier seasons. Key sensitivities in the simulations of NEP are identified and include NPP sensitivity to gradual increase in [CO2], N immobilization as a long-term feedback, and the presence or not of plant biomass pools with low N:C ratio.
G. Piñiero, J.M. Paruelo, M. Oesterheld (2006). Potential long-term impacts of livestock introduction on carbon and nitrogen cycling in grasslands of Southern South America. Global Change Biology 12 (7): 1267-1284
ABSTRACT: Empirical evidence based on grazing exclusion at the scale of years to decades shows that grazing modifies carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. However, long-term effects at the scale of centuries are less known, yet highly relevant to understand local and global impacts of grazing. Additionally, most studies have focused on the isolated response of C and N, with little understanding of their interactions. Using CENTURY, a process-based biogeochemical model, we analyzed the impacts of 370 years of livestock grazing (i.e. long term, from early European colonization to present) in 11 sites across the Río de la Plata grasslands and compared them with those resulting from two decades of grazing (i.e. mid-term, typical exclosure experiment). In the long term, livestock grazing primarily altered the N cycle through faster N returns to the soil via urine and dung, which were offset by uninterrupted N outputs by volatilization and leaching. As a result, soil organic N decreased by −880 kg ha−1 or −19%. Higher N outputs (mainly as NH3) opened the N cycle, potentially decreasing N2 O and NOx emissions and increasing N depositions over the region. These greater outputs of N constrained C accumulation in soils, reducing soil organic C by −21 200 kg ha−1 (−22%, a reduction of −1.5 Pg of C for the whole region) and net primary production by −2192 kg ha−1 yr−1 (−24%). Mid-term simulations showed that the effects of livestock introduction in a decadal time scale were substantially different both in magnitude and direction from long-term responses. Long-term results were not substantially affected when atmospheric CO2 content, species composition and fire regime were changed within plausible ranges, but highlighted fire-grazing interactions as a major constraint of long-term C and N dynamics in these grasslands.
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.
Potter, C. S., Randerson, J. T., Field, C. B., Matson, P. A., Vitousek, P. M., Mooney, H. A., Klooster, S. A. (1993). Terrestrial ecosystem production: a process model based on global satellite and surface data. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7 (4): 811-841
ABSTRACT: This paper presents a modeling approach aimed at seasonal resolution of global climatic and edaphic controls on patterns of terrestrial ecosystem production and soil microbial respiration. We use satellite imagery (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project solar radiation), along with historical climate (monthly temperature and precipitation) and soil attributes (texture, C and N contents) from global (1°) data sets as model inputs. The Carnegie-Ames-Stanford approach (CASA) Biosphere model runs on a monthly time interval to simulate seasonal patterns in net plant carbon fixation, biomass and nutrient allocation, litterfall, soil nitrogen mineralization, and microbial CO2 production. The model estimate of global terrestrial net primary production is 48 Pg C yr−1 with a maximum light use efficiency of 0.39 g C MJ−1PAR. Over 70% of terrestrial net production takes place between 30° N and 30° S latitude. Steady state pools of standing litter represent global storage of around 174 Pg C (94 and 80 Pg C in nonwoody and woody pools, respectively), whereas the pool of soil C in the top 0.3 m that is turning over on decadal time scales comprises 300 Pg C. Seasonal variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from three stations in the Geophysical Monitoring for Climate Change Flask Sampling Network correlate significantly with estimated net ecosystem production values averaged over 50°-80° N, 10°-30° N, and 0°- 10° N.
ABSTRACT: We used a simple model of carbon–nitrogen (C–N) interactions in terrestrial ecosystems to examine the responses to elevated CO2 and to elevated CO2 plus warming in ecosystems that had the same total nitrogen loss but that differed in the ratio of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) loss. We postulate that DIN losses can be curtailed by higher N demand in response to elevated CO2 , but that DON losses cannot. We also examined simulations in which DON losses were held constant, were proportional to the amount of soil organic matter, were proportional to the soil C:N ratio, or were proportional to the rate of decomposition. We found that the mode of N loss made little difference to the short-term (<60 years) rate of carbon sequestration by the ecosystem, but high DON losses resulted in much lower carbon sequestration in the long term than did low DON losses. In the short term, C sequestration was fueled by an internal redistribution of N from soils to vegetation and by increases in the C:N ratio of soils and vegetation. This sequestration was about three times larger with elevated CO2 and warming than with elevated CO2 alone. After year 60, C sequestration was fueled by a net accumulation of N in the ecosystem, and the rate of sequestration was about the same with elevated CO2 and warming as with elevated CO2 alone. With high DON losses, the ecosystem either sequestered C slowly after year 60 (when DON losses were constant or proportional to soil organic matter) or lost C (when DON losses were proportional to the soil C:N ratio or to decomposition). We conclude that changes in long-term C sequestration depend not only on the magnitude of N losses, but also on the form of those losses.
Reich, P. B., Hobbie, S. E., Lee, T., Ellsworth, D. S., West, J. B., Tilman, D., Knops, J. M. H., Naeem, S., Trost, J. (2006). Nitrogen limitation constrains sustainability of ecosystem response to CO2 . Nature 440 (7086): 922-925
ABSTRACT: Enhanced plant biomass accumulation in response to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration could dampen the future rate of increase in CO2 levels and associated climate warming. However, it is unknown whether CO2 -induced stimulation of plant growth and biomass accumulation will be sustained or whether limited nitrogen (N) availability constrains greater plant growth in a CO2-enriched world1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 . Here we show, after a six-year field study of perennial grassland species grown under ambient and elevated levels of CO2 and N, that low availability of N progressively suppresses the positive response of plant biomass to elevated CO2 . Initially, the stimulation of total plant biomass by elevated CO2 was no greater at enriched than at ambient N supply. After four to six years, however, elevated CO2 stimulated plant biomass much less under ambient than enriched N supply. This response was consistent with the temporally divergent effects of elevated CO2 on soil and plant N dynamics at differing levels of N supply. Our results indicate that variability in availability of soil N and deposition of atmospheric N are both likely to influence the response of plant biomass accumulation to elevated atmospheric CO2 . Given that limitations to productivity resulting from the insufficient availability of N are widespread in both unmanaged and managed vegetation5, 7, 8, 9 , soil N supply is probably an important constraint on global terrestrial responses to elevated CO2 .
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.
Sitch, S., Smith, B., Prentice, I. C., Arneth, A., Bondeau, A., Cramer, W., Kaplan, J. O., Levis, S., Lucht, W., Sykes, M. T., Thonicke, K., Venevsky, S. (2003). Evaluation of ecosystem dynamics, plant geography and terrestrial carbon cycling in the LPJ dynamic global vegetation model. Global Change Biology 9 (2): 161-185
ABSTRACT: The Lund–Potsdam–Jena Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (LPJ) combines process-based, large-scale representations of terrestrial vegetation dynamics and land-atmosphere carbon and water exchanges in a modular framework. Features include feedback through canopy conductance between photosynthesis and transpiration and interactive coupling between these 'fast' processes and other ecosystem processes including resource competition, tissue turnover, population dynamics, soil organic matter and litter dynamics and fire disturbance. Ten plants functional types (PFTs) are differentiated by physiological, morphological, phenological, bioclimatic and fire-response attributes. Resource competition and differential responses to fire between PFTs influence their relative fractional cover from year to year. Photosynthesis, evapotranspiration and soil water dynamics are modelled on a daily time step, while vegetation structure and PFT population densities are updated annually.
Simulations have been made over the industrial period both for specific sites where field measurements were available for model evaluation, and globally on a 0.5°° × 0.5°° grid. Modelled vegetation patterns are consistent with observations, including remotely sensed vegetation structure and phenology. Seasonal cycles of net ecosystem exchange and soil moisture compare well with local measurements. Global carbon exchange fields used as input to an atmospheric tracer transport model (TM2) provided a good fit to observed seasonal cycles of CO2 concentration at all latitudes. Simulated inter-annual variability of the global terrestrial carbon balance is in phase with and comparable in amplitude to observed variability in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2. Global terrestrial carbon and water cycle parameters (pool sizes and fluxes) lie within their accepted ranges. The model is being used to study past, present and future terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, biochemical and biophysical interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere, and as a component of coupled Earth system models.
Tan, Z., Liu, S., Johnston, C. A., Liu, J., Tieszen, L. L. (2006). Analysis of ecosystem controls on soil carbon source-sink relationships in the northwest Great Plains. Global Biogeochemical Cyclies 20 (GB4012): doi:10.1029/2005GB002610
ABSTRACT: Our ability to forecast the role of ecosystem processes in mitigating global greenhouse effects relies on understanding the driving forces on terrestrial C dynamics. This study evaluated the controls on soil organic C (SOC) changes from 1973 to 2000 in the northwest Great Plains. SOC source-sink relationships were quantified using the General Ensemble Biogeochemical Modeling System (GEMS) based on 40 randomly located 10 × 10 km2 sample blocks. These sample blocks were aggregated into cropland, grassland, and forestland groups based on land cover composition within each sample block. Canonical correlation analysis indicated that SOC source-sink relationship from 1973 to 2000 was significantly related to the land cover type while the change rates mainly depended on the baseline SOC level and annual precipitation. Of all selected driving factors, the baseline SOC and nitrogen levels controlled the SOC change rates for the forestland and cropland groups, while annual precipitation determined the C source-sink relationship for the grassland group in which noticeable SOC sink strength was attributed to the conversion from cropped area to grass cover. Canonical correlation analysis also showed that grassland ecosystems are more complicated than others in the ecoregion, which may be difficult to identify on a field scale. Current model simulations need further adjustments to the model input variables for the grass cover-dominated ecosystems in the ecoregion.
ABSTRACT: A process-based model BIOME-BGC designed for simulation of biogeochemical element cycling in terrestrial ecosystems was prepared for application to managed forest ecosystems in temperate Europe. New routines were implemented that permit specification of thinning, felling and species change when planting new forest. Other changes were implemented to water cycling routines, specifically to precipitation and evaporation, simulation of industrial nitrogen deposition and fine roots mortality. The major aim of the paper was to conduct a sensitivity analysis of the adapted model. We specifically analysed the effects of site and eco-physiological parameters on the modeled state variables (carbon pools in biomass, litter and soil and net primary production (NPP)). The analysis revealed a high sensitivity of all tested variables to the following site parameters: total precipitation, rooting depth, sand fraction (for sandy soils only), ambient CO2 and parameters of nitrogen input. Similarly, the tested variables were shown to be highly sensitive to the following eco-physiological parameters: leaf and fine root C:N ratio, new stem C to new leaf C ratio, new fine root C to new leaf C ratio, specific leaf area, maximum stomatal conductance, fire mortality and fraction of N in Rubisco (specifically for deciduous species). Additionally, the whole plant mortality had a high effect on carbon pools, but a small effect on NPP.
Tian, H., Melillo, J. M., Kicklighter, D.W., McGuire, A. D., Helfrich, J. V. K., Moore, B., III, Vorosmarty, C. J. (1998). Effect of interannual climate variability on carbon storage in Amazonian ecosystems. Nature 396 (6712): 664-667
ABSTRACT: The Amazon Basin contains almost one-half of the world's undisturbed tropical evergreen forest as well as large areas of tropical savanna1,2 . The forests account for about 10 per cent of the world's terrestrial primary productivity and for a similar fraction of the carbon stored in land ecosystems2,3 , and short-term field measurements4 suggest that these ecosystems are globally important carbon sinks. But tropical land ecosystems have experienced substantial interannual climate variability owing to frequent El Niño episodes in recent decades5 . Of particular importance to climate change policy is how such climate variations, coupled with increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration, affect terrestrial carbon storage6, 7, 8 . Previous model analyses have demonstrated the importance of temperature in controlling carbon storage9,10 . Here we use a transient process-based biogeochemical model of terrestrial ecosystems3,11 to investigate interannual variations of carbon storage in undisturbed Amazonian ecosystems in response to climate variability and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration during the period 1980 to 1994. In El Niño years, which bring hot, dry weather to much of the Amazon region, the ecosystems act as a source of carbon to the atmosphere (up to 0.2 petagrams of carbon in 1987 and 1992). In other years, these ecosystems act as a carbon sink (up to 0.7 Pg C in 1981 and 1993). These fluxes are large; they compare to a 0.3 Pg C per year source to the atmosphere associated with deforestation inthe Amazon Basin in the early 1990s12 . Soil moisture, which is affected by both precipitation and temperature, and which affects both plant and soil processes, appears to be an important control on carbon storage.
ABSTRACT: Three independent methods were used to measure net ecosystem production (NEP) in four wetlands near Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. The first method calculated NEP by subtracting heterotrophic respiration from net primary productivity, using both measurements and estimates derived from the literature. The second method used radiocarbon data from cores to derive long-term NEP averaged over the past several decades. The third method used direct measurement of NEP combined with a model to fill in for days with no data. The three methods, with their independently derived uncertainties, all show the same magnitude and pattern of NEP variation across four different wetland types. However, direct measurement yielded distinctly lower estimates of NEP in the most productive sites. Highest NEP (31 – 180 gC m−2 yr−1 ) was observed in the two wetlands with the highest proportion of sedge vegetation. A bog collapse scar and a nutrient-rich fen had NEP values not significantly different from zero. The maximum NEP at sites with intermediate nutrient status is due to slower overall decomposition and is likely associated with greater allocation of production below ground by sedges. The three methods for estimating NEP differ in the effort required, the sources of error, and in the timescale over which they apply. Used in combination, they allow estimation of parameters such as below- ground production and the contribution of heterotrophic decomposition to total soil respiration. Using the radiocarbon method, we also derived estimates of the rate of N accumulation in the four wetland types.
Vetter, M., Wirth, C., Bottcher, H., Churkina, G., Schulze, E. D., Wutzler, T., Weber, G. (2005). Partitioning direct and indirect human-induced effects on carbon sequestration of managed coniferous forests using model simulations and forest inventories. Global Change Biology 11 (5): 810-827
ABSTRACT: Temperate forest ecosystems have recently been identified as an important net sink in the global carbon budget. The factors responsible for the strength of the sinks and their permanence, however, are less evident. In this paper, we quantify the present carbon sequestration in Thuringian managed coniferous forests. We quantify the effects of indirect human-induced environmental changes (increasing temperature, increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and nitrogen fertilization), during the last century using BIOME-BGC, as well as the legacy effect of the current age-class distribution (forest inventories and BIOME-BGC). We focused on coniferous forests because these forests represent a large area of central European forests and detailed forest inventories were available.
The model indicates that environmental changes induced an increase in biomass C accumulation for all age classes during the last 20 years (1982–2001). Young and old stands had the highest changes in the biomass C accumulation during this period. During the last century mature stands (older than 80 years) turned from being almost carbon neutral to carbon sinks. In high elevations nitrogen deposition explained most of the increase of net ecosystem production (NEP) of forests. CO2 fertilization was the main factor increasing NEP of forests in the middle and low elevations.
According to the model, at present, total biomass C accumulation in coniferous forests of Thuringia was estimated at 1.51 t C ha−1 yr−1 with an averaged annual NEP of 1.42 t C ha−1 yr−1 and total net biome production of 1.03 t C ha−1 yr−1 (accounting for harvest). The annual averaged biomass carbon balance (BCB: biomass accumulation rate-harvest) was 1.12 t C ha−1 yr−1 (not including soil respiration), and was close to BCB from forest inventories (1.15 t C ha−1 yr−1 ). Indirect human impact resulted in 33% increase in modeled biomass carbon accumulation in coniferous forests in Thuringia during the last century. From the forest inventory data we estimated the legacy effect of the age-class distribution to account for 17% of the inventory-based sink. Isolating the environmental change effects showed that these effects can be large in a long-term, managed conifer forest.
Vuichard, N., Soussana, J.-F., Ciais, P., Viovy, N., Ammann, C., Calanca, P., Clifton-Brown, J., Fuhrer, J., Jones, M., Martin, C. (2007). Estimating the greenhouse gas fluxes of European grasslands with a process-based model: 1. Model evaluation from in situ measurements. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 21 (GB1004): doi:10.1029/2005GB002611
ABSTRACT: We improved a process-oriented biogeochemical model of carbon and nitrogen cycling in grasslands and tested it against in situ measurements of biomass and CO2 and CH4 fluxes at five European grassland sites. The new version of the model (PASIM) calculates the growth and senescence of aboveground vegetation biomass accounting for sporadic removals when the grassland is cut and for continuous removals when it is grazed. Limitations induced by high leaf area index (LAI), soil water deficits and aging of leaves are also included. We added to this a simple empirical formulation to account for the detrimental impact on vegetation of trampling and excreta by grazing animals. Finally, a more realistic methane emission module than is currently used was introduced on the basis of the quality of the animals' diet. Evaluation of this improved version of PASIM is performed at (1) Laqueuille, France, on grassland continuously grazed by cattle with two plots of intensive and extensive grazing intensities, (2) Oensingen, Switzerland, on cut grassland with two fertilized and nonfertilized plots, and (3) Carlow, Ireland, on grassland that is both cut and grazed by cattle during the growing season. In addition, we compared the modeled animal CH4 emissions with in situ measurements on cattle for two grazing intensities at the grazed grassland site of Laqueuille. Altogether, when all improvements to the PASIM model are included, we found that the new parameterizations resulted into a better fit to the observed seasonal cycle of biomass and of measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes. However, the large uncertainties in measurements of biomass and LAI make simulation of biomass dynamics difficult to make. Also simulations for cut grassland are better than for grazed swards. This work paves the way for simulating greenhouse gas fluxes over grasslands in a spatially explicit manner, in order to quantify and understand the past, present and future role of grasslands in the greenhouse gas budget of the European continent.
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.
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.
Tao, Z. N., Jain, A. K. (2005). Modeling of global biogenic emissions for key indirect greenhouse gases and their response to atmospheric CO2 increases and changes in land cover and climate. Journal of Geophysical Research 110 (D21309): doi:10.1029/2005JD005874
ABSTRACT:  Natural emissions of nonmethane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) play a crucial role in the oxidation capacity of the lower atmosphere and changes in concentrations of major greenhouse gases (GHGs), particularly methane and tropospheric ozone. In this study, we integrate a global biogenic model within a terrestrial ecosystem model to investigate the vegetation and soil emissions of key indirect GHGs, e. g., isoprene, monoterpene, other NMVOCs (OVOC), CO, and NOx. The combination of a high-resolution terrestrial ecosystem model with satellite data allows investigation of the potential changes in net primary productivity (NPP) and resultant biogenic emissions of indirect GHGs due to atmospheric CO2 increases and changes in climate and land use practices. Estimated global total annual vegetation emissions for isoprene, monoterpene, OVOC, and CO are 601, 103, 102, and 73 Tg C, respectively. Estimated NOx emissions from soils are 7.51 Tg N. The land cover changes for croplands generally lead to a decline of vegetation emissions for isoprene OVOC, whereas temperature and atmospheric CO2 increases lead to higher vegetation emissions. The modeled global mean isoprene emissions show relatively large seasonal variations over the previous 20 years from 1981 to 2000 (as much as 31% from year to year). Savanna and boreal forests show large seasonal variations, whereas tropical forests with high plant productivity throughout the year show small seasonal variations. Results of biogenic emissions from 1981 to 2000 indicate that the CO2 fertilization effect, along with changes in climate and land use, causes the overall up-trend in isoprene and OVOC emissions over the past 2 decades. This relationship suggests that future emission scenario estimations for NMVOCs should account for effects of CO2 and climate in order to more accurately estimate local, regional, and global chemical composition of the atmosphere, the global carbon budget, and radiation balance of the Earth-atmosphere system.
Bachelet, D., R. P. Neilson, T. Hickler, R. J. Drapek, J. M. Lenihan, M. T. Sykes, B. Smith, S. Sitch, K. Thonicke (2003). Simulating past and future dynamics of natural ecosystems in the United States. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 17 (2): 1045, doi:10.1029/2001GB001508
ABSTRACT: Simulations of potential vegetation distribution, natural fire frequency, carbon pools, and fluxes are presented for two DGVMs (Dynamic Global Vegetation Models) from the second phase of the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project. Results link vegetation dynamics to biogeochemical cycling for the conterminous United States. Two climate change scenarios were used: a moderately warm scenario from the Hadley Climate Centre and a warmer scenario from the Canadian Climate Center. Both include sulfate aerosols and assume a gradual CO2 increase. Both DGVMs simulate a reduction of southwestern desert areas, a westward expansion of eastern deciduous forests, and the expansion of forests in the western part of the Pacific Northwest and in north-central California. Both DGVMs predict an increase in total biomass burnt in the next century, with a more pronounced increase under the Canadian scenario. Under the Hadley scenario, both DGVMs simulate increases in total carbon stocks. Under the Canadian scenario, both DGVMs simulate a decrease in live vegetation carbon. We identify similarities in model behavior due to the climate forcing and explain differences by the different structure of the models and their different sensitivity to CO2 . We compare model output with data to enhance our confidence in their ability to simulate potential vegetation distribution and ecosystem processes. We compare changes in the area of drought-induced decreases in vegetation density with a spatial index derived from the Palmer Drought Severity Index to illustrate the ability of the vegetation to cope with water limitations in the future and the role of the CO2 fertilization effect.
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.
W. Cramer, A. Bondeau, F. I. Woodward, I. C. Prentice, R. A. Betts, V. Brovkin, P. M. Cox, V. Fisher, J. A. Foley, A. D. Friend, C. Kucharik, M. R. Lomas, N. Ramankutty, S. Sitch, B. Smith, A. White, C. Young-Molling (2001). Global response of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function to CO2 and climate change: results from six dynamic global vegetation models. Global Change Biology 7 (4): 357-373
ABSTRACT: The possible responses of ecosystem processes to rising atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate change are illustrated using six dynamic global vegetation models that explicitly represent the interactions of ecosystem carbon and water exchanges with vegetation dynamics. The models are driven by the IPCC IS92a scenario of rising CO2 (Wigley et al. 1991), and by climate changes resulting from effective CO2 concentrations corresponding to IS92a, simulated by the coupled ocean atmosphere model HadCM2-SUL. Simulations with changing CO2 alone show a widely distributed terrestrial carbon sink of 1.4–3.8 Pg C y−1 during the 1990s, rising to 3.7–8.6 Pg C y−1 a century later. Simulations including climate change show a reduced sink both today (0.6–3.0 Pg C y−1 ) and a century later (0.3–6.6 Pg C y−1 ) as a result of the impacts of climate change on NEP of tropical and southern hemisphere ecosystems. In all models, the rate of increase of NEP begins to level off around 2030 as a consequence of the 'diminishing return' of physiological CO2 effects at high CO2 concentrations. Four out of the six models show a further, climate-induced decline in NEP resulting from increased heterotrophic respiration and declining tropical NPP after 2050. Changes in vegetation structure influence the magnitude and spatial pattern of the carbon sink and, in combination with changing climate, also freshwater availability (runoff). It is shown that these changes, once set in motion, would continue to evolve for at least a century even if atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate could be instantaneously stabilized. The results should be considered illustrative in the sense that the choice of CO2 concentration scenario was arbitrary and only one climate model scenario was used. However, the results serve to indicate a range of possible biospheric responses to CO2 and climate change. They reveal major uncertainties about the response of NEP to climate change resulting, primarily, from differences in the way that modelled global NPP responds to a changing climate. The simulations illustrate, however, that the magnitude of possible biospheric influences on the carbon balance requires that this factor is taken into account for future scenarios of atmospheric CO2 and climate change.
ABSTRACT: Models that address the impacts of climate change on forests are reviewed at four levels of biological organization: global, regional or landscape, community, and tree. The models are compared for their ability to assess changes in fluxes of biogenic greenhouse gases, land use, patterns of forest type or species composition, forest resource productivity, forest health, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. No one model can address all of these impacts, but landscape transition models and regional vegetation and land-use models have been used to consider more impacts than the other models. The development of landscape vegetation dynamics models of functional groups is suggested as a means to integrate the theory of both landscape ecology and individual tree responses to climate change. Risk assessment methodologies can be adapted to deal with the impacts of climate change at various spatial and temporal scales. Four areas of research needing additional effort are identified: (1) linking socioeconomic and ecologic models; (2) interfacing forest models at different scales; (3) obtaining data on susceptibility of trees and forest to changes in climate and disturbance regimes; and (4) relating information from different scales.
ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the impacts of climate change on forest fires and describes how this, in turn, will impact on the forests of the United States. In addition to reviewing existing studies on climate change and forest fires we have used two transient general circulation models (GCMs), namely the Hadley Centre and the Canadian GCMs, to estimate fire season severity in the middle of the next century. Ratios of 2×CO2 seasonal severity rating (SSR) over present day SSR were calculated for the means and maximums for North America. The results suggest that the SSR will increase by 10–50% over most of North America; although, there are regions of little change or where the SSR may decrease by the middle of the next century. Increased SSRs should translate into increased forest fire activity. Thus, forest fires could be viewed as an agent of change for US forests as the fire regime will respond rapidly to climate warming. This change in the fire regime has the potential to overshadow the direct effects of climate change on species distribution and migration.
M. E. Harmon, B. Marks (2002). Effects of silvicultural practices on carbon stores in Douglas-fir – western hemlock forests in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.: results from a simulation model. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 32 (5): 863-877
ABSTRACT: We used a new model, STANDCARB, to examine effects of various treatments on carbon (C) pools in the Pacific Northwest forest sector. Simulation experiments, with five replicates of each treatment, were used to investigate the effects of initial conditions, tree establishment rates, rotation length, tree utilization level, and slash burning on ecosystem and forest products C stores. The forest examined was typical of the Cascades of Oregon and dominated by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg). Simulations were run until a C steady state was reached at the landscape level, and results were rescaled relative to the potential maximum C stored in a landscape. Simulation experiments indicated agricultural fields stored the least (15% of the maximum) and forests protected from fire stored the greatest amount (93% of the maximum) of landscape-level C. Conversion of old-growth forests to any other management or disturbance regime resulted in a net loss of C, whereas conversion of agricultural systems to forest systems had the opposite effect. The three factors, in order of increasing importance, most crucial in developing an optimum C storage system were (i) rotation length, (ii) amount of live mass harvested, and (iii) amount of detritus removed by slash burning. Carbon stores increased as rotation length increased but decreased as fraction of trees harvested and detritus removed increased. Simulations indicate partial harvest and minimal fire use may provide as many forest products as the traditional clearcut – broadcast-burn system while increasing C stores. Therefore, an adequate supply of wood products may not be incompatible with a system that increases C stores.
R. E. Keane, L. M. Holsinger, R. A. Parsons, K. Gray (2008). Climate change effects on historical range and variability of two large landscapes in western Montana, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 254 (3): 375-389
ABSTRACT: Quantifying the historical range and variability of landscape composition and structure using simulation modeling is becoming an important means of assessing current landscape condition and prioritizing landscapes for ecosystem restoration. However, most simulated time series are generated using static climate conditions which fail to account for the predicted major changes in future climate. This paper presents a simulation study that generates reference landscape compositions for all combinations of three climate scenarios (warm-wet, hot-dry, and current) and three fire regime scenarios (half historical, historical, and double historical fire frequencies) to determine if future climate change has an effect on landscape dynamics. We applied the spatially explicit, state-and-transition, landscape fire succession model LANDSUM to two large landscapes in west-central Montana, USA. LANDSUM was parameterized and initialized using spatial data generated from the LANDFIRE prototype project. Biophysical settings, critical spatial inputs to LANDSUM, were empirically modeled across the landscape using environmental gradients created from historical and modeled future climate daily weather data summaries. Successional pathways and disturbance probabilities were assigned to these biophysical settings based on existing field data and extensive literature reviews. To assess the impact of changes in climate and fire regime, we compared simulated area burned and landscape composition over time among the different simulation scenario combinations using response variables of Sorenson's index (a global measure of similarity) and area occupied by the dominant vegetation class (simple indicator of change in landscape composition). Results show that simulated time series using future predicted climate scenarios are significantly different from the simulated historical time series and any changes in the fire regime tend to create more dissimilar and more variable simulated time series. Our study results indicate that historical time series should be used in conjunction with simulated future time series as references for managing landscapes.
ABSTRACT: While current projections of future climate change associated with increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases have a high degree of uncertainty, the potential effects of climate change on forests are of increasing concern. A number of studies based on forest simulation models predict substantial alteration of forest composition, forest dieback, or even loss of forest cover in response to increased temperatures associated with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. However, the structure of these computer models may cause them to overemphasize the role of climate in controlling tree growth and mortality. Model functions that represent the influence of climate on tree growth are based on the geographic range limits of a species, predicting maximal growth in the center of the range and zero growth (100% mortality) at the range limits and beyond. This modeling approach ignores the fact that the geographic range of a species reflects the influence of both climate and other environmental factors, including competition with other tree species, soil characteristics, barriers to dispersal, and distributions of pests and pathogens. These climate-response functions in forest simulation models implicitly assume that tree species occur in all environments where it is possible for them to survive (their fundamental niche or potential habitat) and that these potential habitats are entirely defined by climate. Hence, any alteration of climate must result in a fairly rapid decline of species near their range limits and rapid alteration of forest composition and structure. The climate-response functions that lead to these unrealistic conclusions have no basis in plant physiology or actual measurements of tree responses to climate stressors. Rather, these functions were chosen as a necessary expedient for modeling the climatic responses of many tree species for which there were limited or no ecophysiological data. There is substantial evidence, however, that some tree species can survive, and even thrive, in climatic conditions outside their present range limits. This evidence suggests that nonclimatic factors exclude some species from natural forests beyond their present range limits and that climate may not be the only determinant of these limits. Hence, there is reason to suspect that published projections of forest responses to climate change based on forest simulation models may exaggerate the direct impact of climate on tree growth and mortality.
We propose that forest simulation models be reformulated with more realistic representations of growth responses to temperature, moisture, mortality, and dispersal. We believe that only when these models more accurately reflect the physiological bases of the responses of tree species to climate variables can they be used to simulate responses of forests to rapid changes in climate. We argue that direct forest responses to climate change projected by such a reformulated model may be less traumatic and more gradual than those projected by current models. However, the indirect effects of climate change on forests, mediated by alterations of disturbance regimes or the actions of pests and pathogens, may accelerate climate-induced change in forests, and they deserve further study and inclusion within forest simulation models.
ABSTRACT: The occurrence and abundance of conifers along climate gradients in the Inland Northwest (USA) was assessed using data from 5082 field plots, 81% of which were forested. Analyses using the Random Forests classification tree revealed that the sequential distribution of species along an altitudinal gradient could be predicted with reasonable accuracy from a single climate variable, a growing-season dryness index, calculated from the ratio of degree-days >5°C that accumulate in the frost-free season to the summer precipitation. While the appearance and departure of species in an ascending altitudinal sequence were closely related to the dryness index, the departure was most easily visualized in relation to negative degree-days (degree-days <0°C). The results were in close agreement with the works of descriptive ecologists. A Weibull response function was used to predict from climate variables the abundance and occurrence probabilities of each species, using binned data. The fit of the models was excellent, generally accounting for >90% of the variance among 100 classes.
ABSTRACT: Predicting ecosystem response to climate change is a dynamic version of the classic problem of understanding vegetation-climate interrelations. Computer models can synthesize current knowledge and are important tools for understanding possible ecosystem dynamics under changed conditions. Models based on individual plant biology and natural history have been tested with respect to their ability to simulate vegetation response to changed climate, and are being applied to assess the potential effects of future climate change.
Thornton, P. E., B. E. Law, H. L. Gholz, K.L. Clark, E. Falge, D.S. Ellsworth, A.H. Goldstein, R.K. Monson, D. Hollinger, M. Falk, J. Chen, J. P. Sparks (2002). Modeling and measuring the effects of disturbance history and climate on carbon and water budgets in evergreen needleleaf forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113 (1-4): 185-222
ABSTRACT: The effects of disturbance history, climate, and changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentration and nitrogen deposition (Ndep ) on carbon and water fluxes in seven North American evergreen forests are assessed using a coupled water–carbon–nitrogen model, canopy-scale flux observations, and descriptions of the vegetation type, management practices, and disturbance histories at each site. The effects of interannual climate variability, disturbance history, and vegetation ecophysiology on carbon and water fluxes and storage are integrated by the ecosystem process model Biome-BGC, with results compared to site biometric analyses and eddy covariance observations aggregated by month and year. Model results suggest that variation between sites in net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) is largely a function of disturbance history, with important secondary effects from site climate, vegetation ecophysiology, and changing atmospheric CO2 and Ndep . The timing and magnitude of fluxes following disturbance depend on disturbance type and intensity, and on post-harvest management treatments such as burning, fertilization and replanting. The modeled effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on NEE are generally limited by N availability, but are greatly increased following disturbance due to increased N mineralization and reduced plant N demand. Modeled rates of carbon sequestration over the past 200 years are driven by the rate of change in CO2 concentration for old sites experiencing low rates of Ndep . The model produced good estimates of between-site variation in leaf area index, with mixed performance for between- and within-site variation in evapotranspiration. There is a model bias toward smaller annual carbon sinks at five sites, with a seasonal model bias toward smaller warm-season sink strength at all sites. Various lines of reasoning are explored to help to explain these differences.
A. R. Keyser, J. S. Kimball, R. R. Nemani, S. W. Running (2000). Simulating the effects of climate change on the carbon balance of North American high-latitude forests. Global Change Biology 6 (S1): 185-195
ABSTRACT: The large magnitude of predicted warming at high latitudes and the potential feedback of ecosystems to atmospheric CO2 concentrations make it important to quantify both warming and its effects on high-latitude carbon balance. We analysed long-term, daily surface meteorological records for 13 sites in Alaska and north-western Canada and an 82-y record of river ice breakup date for the Tanana River in interior Alaska. We found increases in winter and spring temperature extrema for all sites, with the greatest increases in spring minimum temperature, average 0.47 °C per 10 y, and a 0.7-day per 10 y advance in ice breakup on the Tanana River. We used the climate records to drive an ecosystem process model, BIOME_BGC, to simulate the effects of climate change on the carbon and water balances of boreal forest ecosystems. The growing season has lengthened by an average of 2.6 days per 10 y with an advance in average leaf onset date of 1.10 days per 10 y. This advance in the start of the active growing season correlates positively with progressively earlier ice breakup on the Tanana River in interior Alaska. The advance in the start of the growing season resulted in a 20% increase in net primary production for both aspen (Populus tremuloides ) and white spruce (Picea glauca ) stands. Aspen had a greater mean increase in maintenance respiration than spruce, whereas spruce had a greater mean increase in evapotranspiration. Average decomposition rates also increased for both species. Both net primary production and decomposition are enhanced in our simulations, suggesting that productive forest types may not experience a significant shift in net carbon flux as a result of climate warming.
ABSTRACT: Analyses of ecosystem responses to global change must embrace the reality of multiple, interacting environmental factors. Ecosystem models demonstrate the importance of examining the combined effects of the gradually rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 and the climatic change that attends it. Models to forecast future changes need data support to be useful, and data–model fusion has become essential in global change research. There is a wealth of information on plant responses to CO2 and temperature, but there have been few ecosystem-scale experiments investigating the combined or interactive effects of CO2 enrichment and warming. Factorial experiments to investigate interactions can be difficult to design, conduct, and interpret, and their results may not support predictions at the ecosystem scale – in the context of global change they will always be case studies. An alternative approach is to gain a thorough understanding of the modes of action of single factors, and rely on our understanding (as represented in models) to inform us of the probable interactions. Multifactor (CO2 × temperature) experiments remain important, however, for testing concepts, demonstrating the reality of multiple-factor influences, and reminding us that surprises can be expected.
ABSTRACT: Through its control on soil moisture patterns, topography’s role in influencing forest composition is widely recognized. This study addresses shortcomings in traditional moisture indices by employing a water balance approach, incorporating topographic and edaphic variability to assess fine-scale moisture demand and moisture availability. Using GIS and readily available data, evapotranspiration and moisture stress are modeled at a fine spatial scale at two study areas in the US (Ohio and North Carolina). Model results are compared to field-based soil moisture measurements throughout the growing season. A strong topographic pattern of moisture utilization and demand is uncovered, with highest rates of evapotranspiration found on south-facing slopes, followed by ridges, valleys, and north-facing slopes. South-facing slopes and ridges also experience highest moisture deficit. Overall higher rates of evapotranspiration are observed at the Ohio site, though deficit is slightly lower. Based on a comparison between modeled and measured soil moisture, utilization and recharge trends were captured well in terms of both magnitude and timing. Topographically controlled drainage patterns appear to have little influence on soil moisture patterns during the growing season. In addition to its ability to accurately capture patterns of soil moisture in both high-relief and moderate-relief environments, a water balance approach offers numerous advantages over traditional moisture indices. It assesses moisture availability and utilization in absolute terms, using readily available data and widely used GIS software. Results are directly comparable across sites, and although output is created at a fine-scale, the method is applicable for larger geographic areas. Since it incorporates topography, available water capacity, and climatic variables, the model is able to directly assess the potential response of vegetation to climate change.
W. S. Gordon, J.S. Famiglietti (2004). Response of the water balance to climate change in the United States over the 20th and 21st centuries: Results from the VEMAP Phase 2 model intercomparisons. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 18 (GB1030): doi:10.1029/2003GB002098
ABSTRACT: Using the VEMAP Phase 2 data set, we tested the hypothesis that changes in climate would result in changes in the water balance as projected by four terrestrial ecosystem models: BIOME-BGC, Century, LPJ, and MC1. We examined trends in runoff and actual evapotranspiration (AET), changes in runoff in relation to changes in precipitation, and differences in runoff ratios as produced by these models for 13 United States watersheds. Observed climate data were used as inputs for simulations covering 1895–1993. From 1994 to 2100, the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis (CGCM1) and the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (HADCM2) general circulation models provided climate forcing. Runoff and AET trends were significantly positive in the majority of 13 watersheds examined. Percentage changes in runoff exceeded the underlying changes in precipitation and this amplification increased over time. Calculated runoff ratios showed model variability and differences based on the two GCM scenarios.
ABSTRACT: A new biogeographic model, MAPSS, predicts changes in vegetation leaf area index (LAI), site water balance and run off, as well as changes in Biome boundaries. Potential scenarios of equilibrium vegetation redistribution under 2 × CO2 climate from five different General Circulation Models (GCMs) are presented. In general, large spatial shifts in temperate and boreal vegetation are predicted under the different scenarios; while, tropical vegetation boundaries are predicted (with one exception) to experience minor distribution contractions. Maps of predicted changes in forest LAI imply drought-induced losses of biomass over most forested regions, even in the tropics. Regional patterns of forest decline and dieback are surprisingly consistent among the five GCM scenarios, given the general lack of consistency in predicted changes in regional precipitation patterns. Two factors contribute to the consistency among the GCMs of the regional ecological impacts of climatic change: 1) regional, temperature-induced increases in potential evapotranspiration (PET) tend to more than offset regional increases in precipitation; and, 2) the unchanging background interplay between the general circulation and the continental margins and mountain ranges produces a fairly stable pattern of regionally specific sensitivity to climatic change. Two areas exhibiting among the greatest sensitivity to drought-induced forest decline are eastern North America and eastern Europe to western Russia. Drought-induced vegetation decline (losses of LAI), predicted under all GCM scenarios, will release CO2 to the atmosphere; while, expansion of forests at high latitudes will sequester CO2 . The imbalance in these two rate processes could produce a large, transient pulse of CO2 to the atmosphere.
ABSTRACT: Global climate change as currently simulated could result in the broad-scale redistribution of vegetation across the planet. Vegetation change could occur through drought-induced dieback and fire. The direct combustion of vegetation and the decay of dead biomass could result in a release of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere over a 50- to 150-year time frame. A simple model that tracks dieback and regrowth of extra-tropical forests is used to estimate the possible magnitude of this carbon pulse to the atmosphere. Depending on the climate scenario and model assumptions, the carbon pulse could range from 0 to 3 Gt of C yr–1 . The wide range of pulse estimates is a function of uncertainties in the rate of future vegetation change and in the values of key model parameters.
D. Gerten, S. Schaphoff, U. Haberlandt, W. Lucht, S. Sitch (2004). Terrestrial vegetation and water balance—hydrological evaluation of a dynamic global vegetation model. Journal of Hydrology 286 (1-4): 249-270
ABSTRACT: Earth's vegetation plays a pivotal role in the global water balance. Hence, there is a need to model dynamic interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the water cycle. Here, the hydrological performance of the Lund–Potsdam–Jena model (LPJ), a prominent dynamic global vegetation model, is evaluated. Models of this type simulate the coupled terrestrial carbon and water cycle, thus they are well suited for investigating biosphere–hydrosphere interactions over large domains. We demonstrate that runoff and evapotranspiration computed by LPJ agree well with respective results from state-of-the-art global hydrological models, while in some regions, runoff is significantly over- or underestimated compared to observations. The direction and magnitude of these biases is largely similar to those from other macro-scale models, rather than specific to LPJ. They are attributable primarily to uncertainties in the climate input data, and to human interventions not considered by the model (e.g. water withdrawal, land cover conversions). Additional model development is required to perform integrated assessments of water exchanges among the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the anthroposphere. Yet, the LPJ model can now be used to study inter-relations between the world's major vegetation types and the terrestrial water balance. As an example, it is shown that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 content alone would result in pronounced changes in evapotranspiration and runoff for many parts of the world. Although significant, these changes would remain unseen by stand-alone hydrological models, thereby emphasizing the importance of simulating the coupled carbon and water cycle.
D.L. Skole, C. O. Justice, J.R.G. Townshend, A. C. Janetos (1997). A land cover change monitoring program: strategy for an international effort. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 2 (2-3): 157-175
ABSTRACT: An international system for monitoring land cover change is needed to support a range of scientific and policy objectives. Although much of the technology and methods are readily available, such a program has yet to be implemented. This paper outlines the rationale, requirements, and strategy for implementing a land cover-monitoring program using satellite remote sensing, field and ground measurements, and models and assessments. The proposed program builds on existing activities throughout the world and is designed to simultaneously meet the needs of the international policy, global change research, and national resource management. Outputs from this program would provide support to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, lead to the development of consistent country-level emission inventories, and address important scientific problems in global change research such as closing the global carbon budget.
ABSTRACT: The projected changes in carbon exchange between China terrestrial ecosystem and the atmosphere and vegetation and soil carbon storage during the 21st century were investigated using an atmosphere-vegetation interaction model (AVIM2). The results show that in the coming 100 a, for SRES B2 scenario and constant atmospheric CO2 concentration, the net primary productivity (NPP) of terrestrial ecosystem in China will be decreased slowly, and vegetation and soil carbon storage as well as net ecosystem productivity (NEP) will also be decreased. The carbon sink for China terrestrial ecosystem in the beginning of the 20th century will become totally a carbon source by the year of 2020, while for B2 scenario and changing atmospheric CO2 concentration, NPP for China will increase continuously from 2.94 Gt C · a−1 by the end of the 20th century to 3.99 Gt C · a−1 by the end of the 21st century, and vegetation and soil carbon storage will increase to 110.3 Gt C. NEP in China will keep rising during the first and middle periods of the 21st century, and reach the peak around 2050s, then will decrease gradually and approach to zero by the end of the 21st century.
SUMMARY: Over the past decade, several models have been developed to predict the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Results from these models have suggested some alarming consequences of climate change for biodiversity, predicting, for example, that in the next century many plants and animals will go extinct (1) and there could be a large-scale dieback of tropical rainforests (2). However, caution may be required in interpreting results from these models, not least because their coarse spatial scales fail to capture topography or "microclimatic buffering" and they often do not consider the full acclimation capacity of plants and animals (3). Several recent studies indicate that taking these factors into consideration can seriously alter the model predictions (4–7).
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.
ABSTRACT: A biogeographic model, MAPSS (Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System), predicts changes in vegetation leaf area index (LAI), site water balance and runoff, as well as changes in biome boundaries. Potential scenarios of global and regional equilibrium changes in LAI and terrestrial water balance under 2 x CO2 climate from five different general circulation models (GCMs) are presented. Regional patterns of vegetation change and annual runoff are surprisingly consistent among the five GCM scenarios, given the general lack of consistency in predicted changes in regional precipitation patterns. Two factors contribute to the consistency among the GCMs of the regional ecological impacts of climatic change: (1) regional, temperature-induced increases in potential evapotranspiration (PET) tend to more than offset regional increases in precipitation; and (2) the interplay between the general circulation and the continental margins and mountain ranges produces a fairly stable pattern of regionally specific sensitivity to climatic change. Two areas exhibiting among the greatest sensitivity to drought-induced forest decline are eastern North America and eastern Europe to western Russia. Regional runoff patterns exhibit much greater spatial variation in the sign of the response than do the LAI changes, even though they are deterministically linked in the model. Uncertainties with respect to PET or vegetation water use efficiency calculations can alter the simulated sign of regional responses, but the relative responses of adjacent regions appear to be largely a function of the background climate, rather than the vagaries of the GCMs, and are intrinsic to the landscape. Thus, spatial uncertainty maps can be drawn even under the current generation of GCMs.