The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests: Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology

Zheng Fu, Tobias Gerken, Gabriel Bromley, Alessandro Araújo, Damien Bonal, Benoît Burban, Darren Ficklin, Jose Fuentes, Michael Goulden, Takashi Hirano, Yoshiko Kosugi, Michael Liddell, Giacomo Nicolini, Shuli Niu, Olivier Roupsard, Paolo Stefani, Chunrong Mi, Zaddy Tofte, Jingfeng Xiao, Riccardo ValentiniSebastian Wolf, Paul C. Stoy

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Abstract

Tropical rainforests play a central role in the Earth system by regulating climate, maintaining biodiversity, and sequestering carbon. They are under threat by direct anthropogenic impacts like deforestation and the indirect anthropogenic impacts of climate change. A synthesis of the factors that determine the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (NEE) at the site scale across different forests in the tropical rainforest biome has not been undertaken to date. Here, we study NEE and its components, gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (RE), across thirteen natural and managed forests within the tropical rainforest biome with 63 total site-years of eddy covariance data. Our results reveal that the five ecosystems with the largest annual gross carbon uptake by photosynthesis (i.e. GEP > 3000 g C m−2 y-1) have the lowest net carbon uptake – or even carbon losses – versus other study ecosystems because RE is of a similar magnitude. Sites that provided subcanopy CO2 storage observations had higher average magnitudes of GEP and RE and lower average magnitudes of NEE, highlighting the importance of measurement methodology for understanding carbon dynamics in ecosystems with characteristically tall and dense vegetation. A path analysis revealed that vapor pressure deficit (VPD) played a greater role than soil moisture or air temperature in constraining GEP under light saturated conditions across most study sites, but to differing degrees from -0.31 to -0.87 μmol CO2 m−2 s-1 hPa-1. Climate projections from 13 general circulation models (CMIP5) under the representative concentration pathway that generates 8.5 W m−2 of radiative forcing suggest that many current tropical rainforest sites on the lower end of the current temperature range are likely to reach a climate space similar to present-day warmer sites by the year 2050, warmer sites will reach a climate not currently experienced, and all forests are likely to experience higher VPD. Results demonstrate the need to quantify if and how mature tropical trees acclimate to heat and water stress, and to further develop flux-partitioning and gap-filling algorithms for defensible estimates of carbon exchange in tropical rainforests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-307
Number of pages16
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Volume263
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018

Fingerprint

tropical rain forests
flux measurement
rainforest
carbon dioxide
methodology
atmosphere
ecosystems
ecosystem
carbon
climate
productivity
ecosystem respiration
respiration
biome
vapor pressure
anthropogenic activities
uptake mechanisms
net ecosystem exchange
saturated conditions
General Circulation Models

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Fu, Zheng ; Gerken, Tobias ; Bromley, Gabriel ; Araújo, Alessandro ; Bonal, Damien ; Burban, Benoît ; Ficklin, Darren ; Fuentes, Jose ; Goulden, Michael ; Hirano, Takashi ; Kosugi, Yoshiko ; Liddell, Michael ; Nicolini, Giacomo ; Niu, Shuli ; Roupsard, Olivier ; Stefani, Paolo ; Mi, Chunrong ; Tofte, Zaddy ; Xiao, Jingfeng ; Valentini, Riccardo ; Wolf, Sebastian ; Stoy, Paul C. / The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests : Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology. In: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 2018 ; Vol. 263. pp. 292-307.
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abstract = "Tropical rainforests play a central role in the Earth system by regulating climate, maintaining biodiversity, and sequestering carbon. They are under threat by direct anthropogenic impacts like deforestation and the indirect anthropogenic impacts of climate change. A synthesis of the factors that determine the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (NEE) at the site scale across different forests in the tropical rainforest biome has not been undertaken to date. Here, we study NEE and its components, gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (RE), across thirteen natural and managed forests within the tropical rainforest biome with 63 total site-years of eddy covariance data. Our results reveal that the five ecosystems with the largest annual gross carbon uptake by photosynthesis (i.e. GEP > 3000 g C m−2 y-1) have the lowest net carbon uptake – or even carbon losses – versus other study ecosystems because RE is of a similar magnitude. Sites that provided subcanopy CO2 storage observations had higher average magnitudes of GEP and RE and lower average magnitudes of NEE, highlighting the importance of measurement methodology for understanding carbon dynamics in ecosystems with characteristically tall and dense vegetation. A path analysis revealed that vapor pressure deficit (VPD) played a greater role than soil moisture or air temperature in constraining GEP under light saturated conditions across most study sites, but to differing degrees from -0.31 to -0.87 μmol CO2 m−2 s-1 hPa-1. Climate projections from 13 general circulation models (CMIP5) under the representative concentration pathway that generates 8.5 W m−2 of radiative forcing suggest that many current tropical rainforest sites on the lower end of the current temperature range are likely to reach a climate space similar to present-day warmer sites by the year 2050, warmer sites will reach a climate not currently experienced, and all forests are likely to experience higher VPD. Results demonstrate the need to quantify if and how mature tropical trees acclimate to heat and water stress, and to further develop flux-partitioning and gap-filling algorithms for defensible estimates of carbon exchange in tropical rainforests.",
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Fu, Z, Gerken, T, Bromley, G, Araújo, A, Bonal, D, Burban, B, Ficklin, D, Fuentes, J, Goulden, M, Hirano, T, Kosugi, Y, Liddell, M, Nicolini, G, Niu, S, Roupsard, O, Stefani, P, Mi, C, Tofte, Z, Xiao, J, Valentini, R, Wolf, S & Stoy, PC 2018, 'The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests: Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol. 263, pp. 292-307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.09.001

The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests : Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology. / Fu, Zheng; Gerken, Tobias; Bromley, Gabriel; Araújo, Alessandro; Bonal, Damien; Burban, Benoît; Ficklin, Darren; Fuentes, Jose; Goulden, Michael; Hirano, Takashi; Kosugi, Yoshiko; Liddell, Michael; Nicolini, Giacomo; Niu, Shuli; Roupsard, Olivier; Stefani, Paolo; Mi, Chunrong; Tofte, Zaddy; Xiao, Jingfeng; Valentini, Riccardo; Wolf, Sebastian; Stoy, Paul C.

In: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol. 263, 15.12.2018, p. 292-307.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests

T2 - Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology

AU - Fu, Zheng

AU - Gerken, Tobias

AU - Bromley, Gabriel

AU - Araújo, Alessandro

AU - Bonal, Damien

AU - Burban, Benoît

AU - Ficklin, Darren

AU - Fuentes, Jose

AU - Goulden, Michael

AU - Hirano, Takashi

AU - Kosugi, Yoshiko

AU - Liddell, Michael

AU - Nicolini, Giacomo

AU - Niu, Shuli

AU - Roupsard, Olivier

AU - Stefani, Paolo

AU - Mi, Chunrong

AU - Tofte, Zaddy

AU - Xiao, Jingfeng

AU - Valentini, Riccardo

AU - Wolf, Sebastian

AU - Stoy, Paul C.

PY - 2018/12/15

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N2 - Tropical rainforests play a central role in the Earth system by regulating climate, maintaining biodiversity, and sequestering carbon. They are under threat by direct anthropogenic impacts like deforestation and the indirect anthropogenic impacts of climate change. A synthesis of the factors that determine the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (NEE) at the site scale across different forests in the tropical rainforest biome has not been undertaken to date. Here, we study NEE and its components, gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (RE), across thirteen natural and managed forests within the tropical rainforest biome with 63 total site-years of eddy covariance data. Our results reveal that the five ecosystems with the largest annual gross carbon uptake by photosynthesis (i.e. GEP > 3000 g C m−2 y-1) have the lowest net carbon uptake – or even carbon losses – versus other study ecosystems because RE is of a similar magnitude. Sites that provided subcanopy CO2 storage observations had higher average magnitudes of GEP and RE and lower average magnitudes of NEE, highlighting the importance of measurement methodology for understanding carbon dynamics in ecosystems with characteristically tall and dense vegetation. A path analysis revealed that vapor pressure deficit (VPD) played a greater role than soil moisture or air temperature in constraining GEP under light saturated conditions across most study sites, but to differing degrees from -0.31 to -0.87 μmol CO2 m−2 s-1 hPa-1. Climate projections from 13 general circulation models (CMIP5) under the representative concentration pathway that generates 8.5 W m−2 of radiative forcing suggest that many current tropical rainforest sites on the lower end of the current temperature range are likely to reach a climate space similar to present-day warmer sites by the year 2050, warmer sites will reach a climate not currently experienced, and all forests are likely to experience higher VPD. Results demonstrate the need to quantify if and how mature tropical trees acclimate to heat and water stress, and to further develop flux-partitioning and gap-filling algorithms for defensible estimates of carbon exchange in tropical rainforests.

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