Carbon fluxes and storage in forests and landscapes


We begin this chapter with a discussion of the major carbon fluxes (e.g., gross primary production, ecosystem respiration) and stocks (e.g., aboveground biomass) in forest ecosystems, as well as their relationships, and provide examples of their values from selected case studies. We pay special attention to the magnitudes of these fluxes and stocks in different forests and biomes. However, studies of carbon cycling at a landscape scale lag significantly behind those at an ecosystem level. The objective of this chapter is to provide a glimpse of current knowledge of carbon fluxes and storage in forests at both ecosystem and landscape scales. Due to the overwhelming literature on this topic, we have limited our review to lessons from selected empirical studies that demonstrate the temporal and spatial variations of the carbon cycle in a range of representative environments. We further discuss our current understanding of carbon cycles across forests and landscapes in the contexts of climate change, the impact of natural disturbances, and regulation of the carbon cycle by management actions. We present a new conceptual framework for the changes in net ecosystem production following a disturbance as a foundation to guide future studies. Finally, we share our vision of the direction of future carbon cycle research from both basic and applied perspectives. We support our review by citing relevant papers that provide important references for readers.


Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Forest Landscapes and Global Change



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Document Type

Book Chapter


© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014