Ecosystems

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 1338–1351

Biotic, Abiotic, and Management Controls on the Net Ecosystem CO2 Exchange of European Mountain Grassland Ecosystems

Authors

    • Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Ökologie
  • Margaret Anderson-Dunn
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Michael Bahn
    • Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Ökologie
  • Manuela Balzarolo
    • Department of Forest Environment and ResourcesUniversity of Tuscia
  • Frank Berninger
    • Department of Forest EcologyUniversity of Helsinki
    • Department of Biological ScienceUniversity of Quebec at Montreal
  • Claire Campbell
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Arnaud Carrara
    • Fundacion CEAM
  • Alessandro Cescatti
    • Centro di Ecologia Alpina, Viote del Monte Bondone
    • European Commission—DG Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability
  • Torben Christensen
    • Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems AnalysisLunds University
  • Sabina Dore
    • Department of Forest Environment and ResourcesUniversity of Tuscia
  • Werner Eugster
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, Institute of Plant Sciences
  • Thomas Friborg
    • Institute of Geography, Copenhagen University
  • Markus Furger
    • Laboratory of Atmospheric ChemistryPaul-Scherrer Institute
  • Damiano Gianelle
    • Centro di Ecologia Alpina, Viote del Monte Bondone
  • Cristina Gimeno
    • Fundacion CEAM
  • Ken Hargreaves
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Pertti Hari
    • Department of Forest EcologyUniversity of Helsinki
  • Alois Haslwanter
    • Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Ökologie
  • Torbjörn Johansson
    • Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems AnalysisLunds University
  • Barbara Marcolla
    • Centro di Ecologia Alpina, Viote del Monte Bondone
  • Celia Milford
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Zoltan Nagy
    • Department of Botany and Plant PhysiologySzent István University
  • Eiko Nemitz
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Nele Rogiers
    • Laboratory of Atmospheric ChemistryPaul-Scherrer Institute
    • Institute of Geography, University of Bern
  • Maria J. Sanz
    • Fundacion CEAM
  • Rolf T.W. Siegwolf
    • Laboratory of Atmospheric ChemistryPaul-Scherrer Institute
  • Sanna Susiluoto
    • Department of Forest EcologyUniversity of Helsinki
  • Mark Sutton
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Zoltan Tuba
    • Department of Botany and Plant PhysiologySzent István University
  • Francesca Ugolini
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Riccardo Valentini
    • Department of Forest Environment and ResourcesUniversity of Tuscia
  • Roberto Zorer
    • Istituto Agrario di S. Michele all’Adige
  • Alexander Cernusca
    • Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Ökologie
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10021-008-9196-2

Cite this article as:
Wohlfahrt, G., Anderson-Dunn, M., Bahn, M. et al. Ecosystems (2008) 11: 1338. doi:10.1007/s10021-008-9196-2

Abstract

The net ecosystem carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange (NEE) of nine European mountain grassland ecosystems was measured during 2002–2004 using the eddy covariance method. Overall, the availability of photosynthetically active radiation (PPFD) was the single most important abiotic influence factor for NEE. Its role changed markedly during the course of the season, PPFD being a better predictor for NEE during periods favorable for CO2 uptake, which was spring and autumn for the sites characterized by summer droughts (southern sites) and (peak) summer for the Alpine and northern study sites. This general pattern was interrupted by grassland management practices, that is, mowing and grazing, when the variability in NEE explained by PPFD decreased in concert with the amount of aboveground biomass (BMag). Temperature was the abiotic influence factor that explained most of the variability in ecosystem respiration at the Alpine and northern study sites, but not at the southern sites characterized by a pronounced summer drought, where soil water availability and the amount of aboveground biomass were more or equally important. The amount of assimilating plant area was the single most important biotic variable determining the maximum ecosystem carbon uptake potential, that is, the NEE at saturating PPFD. Good correspondence, in terms of the magnitude of NEE, was observed with many (semi-) natural grasslands around the world, but not with grasslands sown on fertile soils in lowland locations, which exhibited higher maximum carbon gains at lower respiratory costs. It is concluded that, through triggering rapid changes in the amount and area of the aboveground plant matter, the timing and frequency of land management practices is crucial for the short-term sensitivity of the NEE of the investigated mountain grassland ecosystems to climatic drivers.

Key words

biomassCarbomontecosystem respirationeddy covariancegreen area indexgrazinglight responsemowing

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008