Importance of disturbance history on net primary productivity in the world's most productive forests and implications for the global carbon cycle
AuthorVolkova, L; Roxburgh, SH; Weston, CJ; Benyon, RG; Sullivan, AL; Polglase, PJ
Source TitleGLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY
AffiliationSchool of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsVolkova, L., Roxburgh, S. H., Weston, C. J., Benyon, R. G., Sullivan, A. L. & Polglase, P. J. (2018). Importance of disturbance history on net primary productivity in the world's most productive forests and implications for the global carbon cycle. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, 24 (9), pp.4293-4303. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14309.
Access StatusOpen Access
Analysis of growth and biomass turnover in natural forests of Eucalyptus regnans, the world's tallest angiosperm, reveals it is also the world's most productive forest type, with fire disturbance an important mediator of net primary productivity (NPP). A comprehensive empirical database was used to calculate the averaged temporal pattern of NPP from regeneration to 250 years age. NPP peaks at 23.1 ± 3.8 (95% interquantile range) Mg C ha-1 year-1 at age 14 years, and declines gradually to about 9.2 ± 0.8 Mg C ha-1 year-1 at 130 years, with an average NPP over 250 years of 11.4 ± 1.1 Mg C ha-1 year-1 , a value similar to the most productive temperate and tropical forests around the world. We then applied the age-class distribution of E. regnans resulting from relatively recent historical fires to estimate current NPP for the forest estate. Values of NPP were 40% higher (13 Mg C ha-1 year-1 ) than if forests were assumed to be at maturity (9.2 Mg C ha-1 year-1 ). The empirically derived NPP time series for the E. regnans estate was then compared against predictions from 21 global circulation models, showing that none of them had the capacity to simulate a post-disturbance peak in NPP, as found in E. regnans. The potential importance of disturbance impacts on NPP was further tested by applying a similar approach to the temperate forests of conterminous United States and of China. Allowing for the effects of disturbance, NPP summed across both regions was on average 11% (or 194 Tg C/year) greater than if all forests were assumed to be in a mature state. The results illustrate the importance of accounting for past disturbance history and growth stage when estimating forest primary productivity, with implications for carbon balance modelling at local to global scales.
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References