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Effects of climate change on carbon storage in boreal forests of China: A local perspective


Ni,  J.
Department Biogeochemical Synthesis, Prof. C. Prentice, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Ni, J. (2002). Effects of climate change on carbon storage in boreal forests of China: A local perspective. Climatic Change, 55(1-2), 61-75.

The BIOME3 model was used to simulate the distribution patterns and carbon storage of the horizontal, zonal boreal forests in northeast and northwest China using a mapping system for vegetation patterns combined with carbon density estimates from vegetation and soils. The BIOME3 prediction is in reasonable good agreement with the potential distribution of Chinese boreal forests. The effects of changing atmospheric CO2 concentration had a nonlinear effect on boreal forest distribution, with 3.5-10.8% reduced areas for both increasing and decreasing CO2. In contrast, the increased climate together with and without changing CO2 concentration showed dramatic changes in geographic patterns, with 70% reduction in area and disappearance of almost boreal forests in northeast China. The baseline carbon storage in boreal forests of China is 4.60 PgC (median estimate) based on the vegetation area of actual boreal forest distribution. If taking the large area of agricultural crops into account, the median value of potential carbon storage is 6.92 PgC. The increasing (340-500 ppmv) and decreasing CO2 concentration (340-200 ppmv) led to decrease of carbon storage, 0.33 PgC and 1.01 PgC respectively compared to BIOME3 potential prediction under present climate and CO2 conditions. Both climate change alone and climate change with CO2 enrichment (340-500 ppmv) reduced largely the carbon stored in vegetation and soils by ca. 6.5 PgC. The effect of climate change is more significant than the direct physiological effect of CO2 concentration on the boreal forests of China, showing a large reduction in both distribution area and carbon storage.