Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

Despite decades of research, gaining a comprehensive understanding of carbon (C) cycling in forests remains a considerable challenge. Uncertainties stem from persistent methodological limitations and the difficulty of resolving top-down estimates of ecosystem C exchange with bottom-up measurements of individual pools and fluxes. To address this, we derived estimates and associated uncertainties of ecosystem C fluxes for a 100-125 year old mixed temperate forest stand at the Bartlett Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA, using three different approaches: (1) tower-based eddy covariance, (2) a biometric approach involving C flux measurements of individual ecosystem subcomponents, and (3) an inventory approach involving changes in major C stocks over time. Our analysis made use of 13 years of data, collected over the period from 2004 to 2016.

Estimates of mean annual net ecosystem production (NEP) ranged from 120-133 g C m-2, demonstrating strong agreement among methods and suggesting that this aging forest acts as a moderate C sink. The use of multiple approaches to measure C fluxes and their uncertainties helped place constraints on difficult-to-measure processes such as aboveground contributions to ecosystem respiration and belowground allocation to mycorrhizal fungal biomass (which was estimated at 20% of net primary production).

Analysis of interannual variability in C fluxes revealed a decoupling between annual wood growth and either current year or lagged NEP or GPP, suggesting that source limitation (C supply) is likely not controlling rates of wood production, at least on an interannual scale. Results also demonstrated a strong association between the maximum rate of C uptake during the growing season (Amax) and the length of the vernal window, defined as the period of time between soil thaw and the onset of photosynthesis. This suggests an important, but poorly understood, influence of winter and spring climate on mid-summer canopy physiology. Efforts to resolve the mechanisms responsible should be prioritized in light of ongoing and predicted changes in climate for the northeastern U.S. region, particularly during the winter and winter-spring transition period.

Publication Date

2018

Journal Title

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Publisher

Elsevier

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.03.017

Document Type

Article

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Comments

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology in 2018, available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016819231830100X. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Available for download on Thursday, April 16, 2020

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