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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Heterotrophic respiration (Rh), microbial processing of soil organic matter to carbon dioxide (CO2), is a major, yet highly uncertain, carbon (C) flux from terrestrial systems to the atmosphere. Temperature sensitivity of Rh is often represented with a simple Q10 function in ecosystem models and earth system models (ESMs), sometimes accompanied by an empirical soil moisture… More

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It is necessary to partition eddy covariance measurements of carbon dioxide exchange into its offsetting gross fluxes, canopy photosynthesis, and ecosystem respiration, to understand the biophysical controls on the net fluxes. And independent estimates of canopy photosynthesis (G) and ecosystem respiration (R) are needed to validate and parametrize carbon cycle models that are coupled with… More

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Measured surface-atmosphere fluxes of energy (sensible heat, H, and latent heat, LE) and CO2 (FCO2) represent the “true” flux plus or minus potential random and systematic measurement errors. Here, we use data from seven sites in the AmeriFlux network, including five forested sites (two of which include “tall tower” instrumentation), one grassland site, and one… More

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Allocation of C to belowground plant structures is one of the most important, yet least well quantified fluxes of C in terrestrial ecosystems. In a literature review of mature forests worldwide, Raich and Nadelhoffer (1989) suggested that total belowground carbon allocation (TBCA) could be estimated from the difference between annual rates of soil respiration and… More

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Differences in the seasonal pattern of assimilatory and respiratory processes are responsible for divergences in seasonal net carbon exchange among ecosystems. Using FLUXNET data (http://www.eosdis.ornl.gov/FLUXNET) we have analyzed seasonal patterns of gross primary productivity (FGPP), and ecosystem respiration (FRE) of boreal and temperate, deciduous and coniferous forests, Mediterranean evergreen systems, a rainforest, temperate grasslands, and… More

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Forest canopies are composed of photosynthetically active vegetation (PAV, chloroplasts) and nonphotosynthetic vegetation (NPV, e.g., cell wall, vein, branch). The fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorbed by the canopy (FAPAR) should be partitioned into FAPARPAV and FAPARNPV. Gross primary production (GPP) of forests is affected by FAPARPAV. In this study we developed and validated… More

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Respiration, which is the second most important carbon flux in ecosystems following gross primary productivity, is typically represented in biogeochemical models by simple temperature dependence equations. These equations were established in the 19th century and have been modified very little since then. Recent applications of these equations to data on soil respiration have produced highly… More

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Most satellites provide, at best, a single daily snapshot of vegetation and, at worst, these snapshots may be separated by periods of many days when the ground was obscured by cloud cover. Since vegetation carbon exchange can be very dynamic on diurnal and day-to-day timescales, the limited temporal resolution of satellite data is a potential… More

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