Modeling And Measuring The Effects Of Disturbance History And Climate On Carbon And Water Budgets In Evergreen Needleleaf Forests

  • Sites: US-Ho1, US-Ho2, US-Ho3
  • Publication Type: JOUR
  • Authors: Thornton, P.; Law, B.; Gholz, H. L.; Clark, K. L.; Falge, E.; Ellsworth, D.; Goldstein, A.; Monson, R.; Hollinger, D.; Falk, M.; Chen, J.; Sparks, J.

  • 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.


  • Journal: Agricultural And Forest Meteorology
  • Funding Agency: —
  • Citation Information:
  • Volume: 113
  • No: 1-4
  • Pages: 185-222
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • DOI: 10.1016/s0168-1923(02)00108-9