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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 8, issue 8 | Copyright
Biogeosciences, 8, 2037-2046, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Aug 2011

Research article | 03 Aug 2011

Regional uptake and release of crop carbon in the United States

T. O. West1, V. Bandaru1, C. C. Brandt2, A. E. Schuh3, and S. M. Ogle3 T. O. West et al.
  • 1Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 2Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
  • 3Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

Abstract. Carbon fixed by agricultural crops in the US creates regional CO2 sinks where it is harvested and regional CO2 sources where it is released back to the atmosphere. The quantity and location of these fluxes differ depending on the annual supply and demand of crop commodities. Data on the harvest of crop biomass, storage, import and export, and on the use of biomass for food, feed, fiber, and fuel were compiled to estimate an annual crop carbon budget for 2000 to 2008. With respect to US Farm Resource Regions, net sources of CO2 associated with the consumption of crop commodities occurred in the Eastern Uplands, Southern Seaboard, and Fruitful Rim regions. Net sinks associated with the production of crop commodities occurred in the Heartland, Northern Great Plains, and Mississippi Portal regions. The national crop carbon budget was balanced to within 0.3 to 6.1 % yr−1 during the period of this analysis.

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