The human footprint in the carbon cycle of temperate and boreal forests

Magnani, Federico; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Borghetti, Marco; Berbigier, Paul; Berninger, Frank; Delzon, Sylvain; Grelle, Achim; Hari, Pertti; Jarvis, Paul G.; Kolari, Pasi; Kowalski, Andrew S.; Lankreijer, Harry; Law, Beverly E.; Lindroth, Anders; Loustau, Denis; Manca, Giovanni; Moncrieff, John B.; Rayment, Mark; Tedeschi, Vanessa; Valentini, Riccardo
June 2007
Nature;6/14/2007, Vol. 447 Issue 7146, p849
Academic Journal
Temperate and boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere cover an area of about 2 × 107 square kilometres and act as a substantial carbon sink (0.6–0.7 petagrams of carbon per year). Although forest expansion following agricultural abandonment is certainly responsible for an important fraction of this carbon sink activity, the additional effects on the carbon balance of established forests of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures, changes in management practices and nitrogen deposition are difficult to disentangle, despite an extensive network of measurement stations. The relevance of this measurement effort has also been questioned, because spot measurements fail to take into account the role of disturbances, either natural (fire, pests, windstorms) or anthropogenic (forest harvesting). Here we show that the temporal dynamics following stand-replacing disturbances do indeed account for a very large fraction of the overall variability in forest carbon sequestration. After the confounding effects of disturbance have been factored out, however, forest net carbon sequestration is found to be overwhelmingly driven by nitrogen deposition, largely the result of anthropogenic activities. The effect is always positive over the range of nitrogen deposition covered by currently available data sets, casting doubts on the risk of widespread ecosystem nitrogen saturation under natural conditions. The results demonstrate that mankind is ultimately controlling the carbon balance of temperate and boreal forests, either directly (through forest management) or indirectly (through nitrogen deposition).


Related Articles

  • Stand composition and structure of the boreal mixedwood and epigaeic arthropods of the Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) landbase in northwestern Alberta. Work, Timothy T.; Shorthouse, David P.; Spence, John R.; Volney, W. Jan A.; Langor, David // Canadian Journal of Forest Research;Feb2004, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p417 

    Conservation of biological diversity under the natural disturbance model of boreal forest management relies on the assumption that natural mosaics of stand composition and structure can be adequately recreated through forest management activities. Maintaining compositional and structural...

  • Nine-year changes in carbon dynamics following different intensities of harvesting in boreal aspen stands. Strukelj, Manuella; Brais, Suzanne; Paré, David // European Journal of Forest Research;Sep2015, Vol. 134 Issue 5, p737 

    Mixedwood forests occupy a large extent of boreal regions and have the potential for sequestering large amounts of carbon. In the context of forest ecosystem management, partial cutting prescriptions are increasingly being applied to boreal mixedwood stands. Partial harvesting is expected to...

  • Carbon in Canada's boreal forest - A synthesis1. Kurz, W.A.; Shaw, C.H.; Boisvenue, C.; Stinson, G.; Metsaranta, J.; Leckie, D.; Dyk, A.; Smyth, C.; Neilson, E.T. // Environmental Reviews;Dec2013, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p260 

    Canada's managed boreal forest, 54% of the nation's total boreal forest area, stores 28 Pg carbon (C) in biomass, dead organic matter, and soil pools. The net C balance is dominated by the difference of two large continuous fluxes: C uptake (net primary production) and release during...

  • Recovery of Ecosystem Carbon Stocks in Young Boreal Forests: A Comparison of Harvesting and Wildfire Disturbance. Seedre, Meelis; Taylor, Anthony; Brassard, Brian; Chen, Han; Jõgiste, Kalev // Ecosystems;Aug2014, Vol. 17 Issue 5, p851 

    Corresponding with the increasing global resource demand, harvesting now affects millions of hectares of boreal forest each year, and yet our understanding of harvesting impacts on boreal carbon (C) dynamics relative to wildfire remains unclear. We provide a direct comparison of C stocks...

  • Daily burned area and carbon emissions from boreal fires in Alaska. Veraverbeke, S.; Rogers, B. M.; Randerson, J. T. // Biogeosciences Discussions;2014, Vol. 11 Issue 12, p17579 

    Boreal fires burn carbon-rich organic soils, thereby releasing large quantities of trace gases and aerosols that influence atmospheric composition and climate. To better understand the factors regulating boreal fire emissions, we developed a statistical model of carbon consumption by fire for...

  • Effects of time since stand-replacing fire and overstory composition on live-tree structural diversity in the boreal forest of central Canada. Chen, Han Y.H.; Wang, Jian R.; Duinker, Peter N.; Brassard, Brian W. // Canadian Journal of Forest Research;Jan2008, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p52 

    Stand structure diversity is hypothesized (i) to increase with stand development and (ii) to be greater in mixedwood stands than in conifer and broadleaf stands. We examined the effects of time since stand-replacing fire (TSF) and overstory type on stand volume, stand density, and tree-size...

  • How Well Do Stakeholder-Defined Forest Management Scenarios Balance Economic and Ecological Forest Values? Eggers, Jeannette; Räty, Minna; Öhman, Karin; Snäll, Tord // Forests (19994907);Jan2020, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p1 

    Research Highlights: We show the difference in the long-term effects on economic and ecological forest values between four forest management scenarios of a large representative forest landscape. The scenarios were largely formulated by stakeholders representing the main views on how to manage...

  • Short- and Long-term Effects of Fire on Carbon in US Dry Temperate Forest Systems. Hurteau, Matthew D.; Brooks, Matthew L. // BioScience;Feb2011, Vol. 61 Issue 2, p139 

    Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and in so doing can mitigate the effects of climate change. Fire is a natural disturbance process in many forest systems that releases carbon back to the atmosphere. In dry temperate forests, fires historically burned with greater frequency and lower...

  • Cultural heritage and biodiversity in the present forest management of the boreal zone in Scandinavia. Parviainen, Jari // Journal of Forest Research;Oct2015, Vol. 20 Issue 5, p445 

    Almost all the boreal forests in the Scandinavian peninsula have been influenced by human societies, and, therefore, natural, original forests are very rare. In this article, the interaction between the old traditional forest uses and the present management practices are analysed and discussed....


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics