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Ecosystems

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 115–130 | Cite as

Commentary: Carbon Metabolism of the Terrestrial Biosphere: A Multitechnique Approach for Improved Understanding

  • J. G.  Canadell
  • H. A.  Mooney
  • D. D.  Baldocchi
  • J. A.  Berry
  • J. R.  Ehleringer
  • C. B.  Field
  • S. T.  Gower
  • D. Y.  Hollinger
  • J. E.  Hunt
  • R. B.  Jackson
  • S. W.  Running
  • G. R.  Shaver
  • W.  Steffen
  • S. E.  Trumbore
  • R.  Valentini
  • B. Y.  Bond

ABSTRACT

Understanding terrestrial carbon metabolism is critical because terrestrial ecosystems play a major role in the global carbon cycle. Furthermore, humans have severely disrupted the carbon cycle in ways that will alter the climate system and directly affect terrestrial metabolism. Changes in terrestrial metabolism may well be as important an indicator of global change as the changing temperature signal. Improving our understanding of the carbon cycle at various spatial and temporal scales will require the integration of multiple, complementary and independent methods that are used by different research communities. Tools such as air sampling networks, inverse numerical methods, and satellite data (top-down approaches) allow us to study the strength and location of the global- and continental-scale carbon sources and sinks. Bottom-up studies provide estimates of carbon fluxes at finer spatial scales and examine the mechanisms that control fluxes at the ecosystem, landscape, and regional scales. Bottom-up approaches include comparative and process studies (for example, ecosystem manipulative experiments) that provide the necessary mechanistic information to develop and validate terrestrial biospheric models. An iteration and reiteration of top-down and bottom-up approaches will be necessary to help constrain measurements at various scales. We propose a major international effort to coordinate and lead research programs of global scope of the carbon cycle.

Key words: biosphere metabolism; carbon cycle; carbon fluxes; global change; terrestrial ecosystems. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G.  Canadell
    • 1
  • H. A.  Mooney
    • 2
  • D. D.  Baldocchi
    • 3
  • J. A.  Berry
    • 4
  • J. R.  Ehleringer
    • 5
  • C. B.  Field
    • 4
  • S. T.  Gower
    • 6
  • D. Y.  Hollinger
    • 7
  • J. E.  Hunt
    • 8
  • R. B.  Jackson
    • 9
  • S. W.  Running
    • 10
  • G. R.  Shaver
    • 11
  • W.  Steffen
    • 12
  • S. E.  Trumbore
    • 13
  • R.  Valentini
    • 14
  • B. Y.  Bond
    • 15
  1. 1.Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) International Project Office, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization—Wildlife and Ecology, P.O. Box 284, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia AU
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA US
  3. 3.Ecosystem Science Division, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 345 Hilgard Hall, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA US
  4. 4.Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 290 Panama Street, Stanford, California 94305, USA US
  5. 5.Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA US
  6. 6.Forest Ecosystem Ecology Program, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA US
  7. 7.USDA Forest Service, Corner of Concord and Mast Roads, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA US
  8. 8.Landcare Research, P.O. Box 69, Lincoln, New Zealand NZ
  9. 9.Department of Botany, Phytotron Building, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA US
  10. 10.School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA US
  11. 11.Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA US
  12. 12.IGBP Secretariat, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Box 50005, S-10405 Stockholm, Sweden SE
  13. 13.Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, California 92717, USA US
  14. 14.Department of Forest Science and Environment, University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, I-01100 Viterbo, Italy IT
  15. 15.Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA US

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