Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 70, Issue 1–4, pp 39–53 | Cite as

Boreal forests and tundra

  • M. J. Apps
  • W. A. Kurz
  • R. J. Luxmoore
  • L. O. Nilsson
  • R. A. Sedjo
  • R. Schmidt
  • L. G. Simpson
  • T. S. Vinson
Part II Workshop Working Group Papers


The circumpolar boreal biomes coverca. 2 109 ha of the northern hemisphere and containca. 800 Pg C in biomass, detritus, soil, and peat C pools. Current estimates indicate that the biomes are presently a net C sink of 0.54 Pg C yr−1. Biomass, detritus and soil of forest ecosystems (includingca. 419 Pg peat) containca. 709 Pg C and sequester an estimated 0.7 Pg C yr−1. Tundra and polar regions store 60–100 Pg C and may recently have become a net source of 0.17 Pg C yr−1. Forest product C pools, including landfill C derived from forest biomass, store less than 3 Pg C but increase by 0.06 Pg C yr−1. The mechanisms responsible for the present boreal forest net sink are believed to be continuing responses to past changes in the environment, notably recovery from the little ice-age, changes in forest disturbance regimes, and in some regions, nutrient inputs from air pollution. Even in the absence of climate change, the C sink strength will likely be reduced and the biome could switch to a C source. The transient response of terrestrial C storage to climate change over the next century will likely be accompanied by large C exchanges with the atmosphere, although the long-term (equilibrium) changes in terrestrial C storage in future vegetation complexes remains uncertain. This transient response results from the interaction of many (often non-linear) processes whose impacts on future C cycles remain poorly quantified. Only a small part of the boreal biome is directly affected by forest management and options for mitigating climate change impacts on C storage are therefore limited but the potential for accelerating the atmospheric C release are high.


Biomass Detritus Boreal Forest Climate Change Impact Transient Response 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Apps
  • W. A. Kurz
  • R. J. Luxmoore
  • L. O. Nilsson
  • R. A. Sedjo
  • R. Schmidt
  • L. G. Simpson
  • T. S. Vinson

There are no affiliations available

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