Forest Carbon Budgets and Climate Change

Authored by: Yadvinder Malhi , Sam Moore , Terhi Riutta

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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The net carbon budget of a forest is the product of the balance between processes of carbon gain (photosynthesis, tree growth, carbon accumulation in soils), and processes of carbon loss (respiration of living biomass, tree mortality, microbial decomposition of litter, oxidation of soil carbon, fire, degradation and type of disturbance). These processes are influenced by a number of climatic and environmental variables, such as temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, moisture availability and frequency of disturbance. It is these variables that create large differences in carbon allocation and storage patterns between forest types such as the low-latitude humid or dry tropical forests, mid-latitude temperate forests and the high-latitude cold boreal forests, requiring that the major forest biomes need to be treated separately.

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