The Kyoto protocol allows separate countries to include carbon uptake from natural sinks as a way to decrease the net emissions of carbon dioxide. More specific, the term sinks concerns Article 3.3 and 3.4 in the protocol, giving the possibility to include carbon uptake by soil and vegetation in forests and by changes in land-use in agricultural areas. By the international agreements reached in Bonn, 2001, the signatory states also must account for the effect of management on the carbon balance of their forests. Such effects could be addressed from already running forestry management field trials. Nevertheless, this requires a new methodology for assessing the carbon fluxes. In this project, a novel approach to assess net stand carbon uptake will be used.
The approach has an interdisciplinary character as it introduces the concept of water use efficiency (WUE) traditionally used for agricultural yield estimations and drought tolerance of plants, in the field of biosphere carbon cycling and greenhouse gas mitigation. The suitability for using the concept of WUE as a means of up-scaling carbon fluxes for deciduous forests will be evaluated. This will be achieved through estimations of transpiration and carbon flux relations at leaf level, including both analysis of earlier measurements on a large number of leaves and new measurements of leaf carbon and water exchange as well as branch sap-flow. The results will be validated against net ecosystem fluxes measured by eddy covariance techniques.
The study will be carried out at Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark. If stand carbon allocation and sequestration can be assessed using the WUE concept, the possibilities to assess the stand carbon cycle are increased significantly. A variety of management practices and species compositions of forests can be evaluated. This would be of great importance for climate change research, where biosphere-atmosphere interactions and carbon cycling are essential processes.
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