Multiple lines of evidence suggest that plant water-use efficiency (WUE)-the ratio of carbon assimilation to water loss-has increased in recent decades. Although rising atmospheric CO2 has been proposed as the principal cause, the underlying physiological mechanisms are still being debated, and implications for the global water cycle remain uncertain. Here, we addressed this gap using… More

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Aerodynamic canopy height (ha) is the effective height of vegetation canopy for its influence on atmospheric fluxes and is a key parameter of surface‐atmosphere coupling. However, methods to estimate ha from data are limited. This synthesis evaluates the applicability and robustness of the calculation of ha from eddy covariance momentum‐flux data. At 69 forest sites,… 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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