Important role of forest disturbances in the global biomass turnover and carbon sinks

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Abstract

Forest disturbances that lead to the replacement of whole tree stands are a cornerstone of forest dynamics, with drivers that include fire, windthrow, biotic outbreaks and harvest. The frequency of disturbances may change over the next century with impacts on the age, composition and biomass of forests. However, the disturbance return time, that is, the mean interval between disturbance events, remains poorly characterized across the world’s forested biomes, which hinders the quantification of the role of disturbances in the global carbon cycle. Here we present the global distribution of stand-replacing disturbance return times inferred from satellite-based observations of forest loss. Prescribing this distribution within a vegetation model with a detailed representation of stand structure, we quantify the importance of stand-replacing disturbances for biomass carbon turnover globally over 2001–2014. The return time varied from less than 50 years in heavily managed temperate ecosystems to over 1,000 years in tropical evergreen forests. Stand-replacing disturbances accounted for 12.3% (95% confidence interval, 11.4–13.7%) of the annual biomass carbon turnover due to tree mortality globally, and in 44% of the forested area, biomass stocks are strongly sensitive to changes in the disturbance return time. Relatively small shifts in disturbance regimes in these areas would substantially influence the forest carbon sink that currently limits climate change by offsetting emissions.

Detaljer

Författare
  • Thomas A.M. Pugh
  • Almut Arneth
  • Markus Kautz
  • Benjamin Poulter
  • Benjamin Smith
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Birmingham
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Western Sydney University
  • Forest Research Institute Baden-Wurttemberg
Forskningsområden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Skogsvetenskap
Originalspråkengelska
Sidor (från-till)730-735
TidskriftNature Geoscience
Volym12
Utgåva nummer9
StatusPublished - 2019
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa