Globally, soil organic matter (SOM) contains more than three times as much carbon as either the atmosphere or terrestrial vegetation. Yet it remains largely unknown why some SOM persists for millennia whereas other SOM decomposes readily—and this limits our ability to predict how soils will respond to climate change. Recent analytical and experimental advances have… More

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Global-scale studies suggest that dryland ecosystems dominate an increasing trend in the magnitude and interannual variability of the land CO2 sink. However, such analyses are poorly constrained by measured CO2 exchange in drylands. Here we address this observation gap with eddy covariance data from 25 sites in the water-limited Southwest region of North America with… More

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Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of the southwestern United States are a mosaic of stands where undisturbed forests are carbon sinks, and stands recovering from wildfires may be sources of carbon to the atmosphere for decades after the fire. However, the relative magnitude of these sinks and sources has never been directly measured in this… More

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Disturbances are important for renewal of North American forests. Here we summarize more than 180 site years of eddy covariance measurements of carbon dioxide flux made at forest chronosequences in North America. The disturbances included stand-replacing fire (Alaska, Arizona, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) and harvest (British Columbia, Florida, New Brunswick, Oregon, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Wisconsin) events,… More

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Disturbances alter ecosystem carbon dynamics, often by reducing carbon uptake and stocks. We compared the impact of two types of disturbances that represent the most likely future conditions of currently dense ponderosa pine forests of the southwestern United States: (1) high-intensity fire and (2) thinning, designed to reduce fire intensity. High-severity fire had a larger… More

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Better understanding of variation in soil carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux caused by measurement techniques is needed, especially over gradients of site disturbance, to accurately estimate the global carbon cycle. We present soil CO2 efflux data from a gradient of disturbance to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson var. scopulorum Engelm.) forests in northern Arizona, USA… More

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Severe wildfire may cause long-term changes in the soil-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide and methane, two gases known to force atmospheric warming. We examined the effect of a severe wildfire 10 years after burning to determine decadal-scale changes in soil gas fluxes following fire, and explored mechanisms responsible for these dynamics. We compared soil carbon dioxide… More

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We assessed the impacts of extreme late-summer drought on carbon balance in a semi-arid forest region in Arizona. To understand drought impacts over extremes of forest cover, we measured net ecosystem production (NEP), gross primary production (GPP), and total ecosystem respiration (TER) with eddy covariance over five years (2006–10) at an undisturbed ponderosa pine (Pinus… More

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We compared energy fluxes between a site converted from ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest to sparse grassland by a severe wildfire 10 years ago and a nearby, unburned forest. We used eddy covariance and associated instruments to measure total radiation, net radiation, albedo, and fluxes of energy into latent heat, sensible heat, and the soil…. More

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