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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 23 | Copyright
Biogeosciences, 14, 5441-5454, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-5441-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Dec 2017

Research article | 04 Dec 2017

Effects of carbon turnover time on terrestrial ecosystem carbon storage

Yaner Yan1,2, Xuhui Zhou2,3, Lifeng Jiang4, and Yiqi Luo4,5,6 Yaner Yan et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Eco-Agricultural Biotechnology around Hongze Lake/Collaborative Innovation Center of Regional Modern Agriculture & Environmental Protection, Huaiyin Normal University, Huai'an 223300, China
  • 2Tiantong National Station for Forest Ecosystem Research, Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • 3Center for Global Change and Ecological forecasting, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • 4Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University, Arizona, 86011, USA
  • 5Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma, OK, USA
  • 6Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Abstract. Carbon (C) turnover time is a key factor in determining C storage capacity in various plant and soil pools as well as terrestrial C sink in a changing climate. However, the effects of C turnover time on ecosystem C storage have not been well explored. In this study, we compared mean C turnover times (MTTs) of ecosystem and soil, examined their variability to climate, and then quantified the spatial variation in ecosystem C storage over time from changes in C turnover time and/or net primary production (NPP). Our results showed that mean ecosystem MTT based on gross primary production (GPP; MTTEC_GPP = Cpool/GPP, 25.0±2.7 years) was shorter than soil MTT (MTTsoil = Csoil/NPP, 35.5±1.2 years) and NPP-based ecosystem MTT (MTTEC_NPP = Cpool/NPP, 50.8±3 years; Cpool and Csoil referred to ecosystem or soil C storage, respectively). On the biome scale, temperature is the best predictor for MTTEC (R2 = 0.77, p<0.001) and MTTsoil (R2 = 0.68, p<0.001), while the inclusion of precipitation in the model did not improve the performance of MTTEC (R2 = 0.76, p<0.001). Ecosystem MTT decreased by approximately 4 years from 1901 to 2011 when only temperature was considered, resulting in a large C release from terrestrial ecosystems. The resultant terrestrial C release caused by the decrease in MTT only accounted for about 13.5% of that due to the change in NPP uptake (159.3±1.45 vs. 1215.4±11.0PgC). However, the larger uncertainties in the spatial variation of MTT than temporal changes could lead to a greater impact on ecosystem C storage, which deserves further study in the future.

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The effects of C turnover time on ecosystem C storage have not been well explored, so we quantified the spatial variation in ecosystem C storage over time from changes in C turnover time and/or NPP. Our results showed that the terrestrial C release caused by the decrease in MTT only accounted for about 13.5 % of that due to the change in NPP uptake. However, the larger uncertainties in the spatial variation of MTT than temporal changes would lead to a greater impact on ecosystem C storage.
The effects of C turnover time on ecosystem C storage have not been well explored, so we...
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