Check out the new white paper on belowground carbon cycling at AmeriFlux sites, contributed by Karis McFarlane (LLNL), Adrien Finzi (Boston U), Luke Nave (U Michigan-UMBS) and Jim Tang (MBL).  The authors and the community are interested in your thoughts on this topic, so your comments are invited!

Belowground carbon dynamics are fundamental to AmeriFlux goals, which cannot be reached by eddy covariance flux measurements alone. Globally, soils contain more than twice as much carbon as do plants. In addition, soil respiration fluxes are 20 times greater than the net terrestrial carbon sink, and are sensitive to climate.  Developing a predictive understanding of belowground carbon pools and fluxes is especially important.

To model and predict responses and feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate and other global changes, improved understanding of the distribution, cycling, dynamics, and vulnerability of belowground carbon at multiple spatial scales is needed. Integrating measurements of eddy covariance fluxes with belowground carbon will yield substantial improvements to models of the carbon cycle in ecosystems and Earth systems.

This white paper reports on priorities for:

  • Defining important belowground carbon cycling parameters
  • Summary of currently available datasets for belowground carbon storage
  • Crucial gaps in these datasets
  • Carbon cycling research within the AmeriFlux Network
  • Recommendations for a plan to improve our understanding modeling of carbon with focus on belowground carbon

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