Problems to be solved
Recent studies have shown that a significant portion of the net terrestrial uptake of CO2 must occur at mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere of which European terrestrial ecosystems cover a significant area. However, the magnitude, location, temporal behaviour and causes of the carbon source/sink strengths of terrestrial ecosystems are not very well known making the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol still under strong debate.
Scientific objectives and approach
The aim of this project is to quantify the magnitude of the carbon sources/sinks for a range of terrestrial ecosystems, in respect of species, age, climate, nitrogen loads and geographical locations. This includes the investigation of effects of inter and intra-annual climate variations on the magnitude of carbon exchanges of terrestrial ecosystems. In addition the role of soil, wood and leaves biomass respiration on the partition of the ecosystem carbon exchanges will be studied. Ecosystem modelling studies on carbon sequestration across a range of climate, species and vegetation structure will accompany field studies. The project is based on measurements of carbon and energy fluxes on 32 terrestrial ecosystems of the European continent, representing various species, community structure, management practices and distribution with respect to the range of European climate conditions. The selected sites fall into four main climate classes: Mediterranean, Temperate - Atlantic, Temperate - Continental and Boreal. The major forest biomes are constituted by deciduous (beech, turkey oak) and evergreen (pinus, spruce, helm oak) forests. In these sites the inter-annual variability of carbon fluxes will be investigated. The methodology for ecosystem exchanges of carbon and energy is based on the eddy covariance theory. The flux stations measure the net flux of carbon entering or leaving the ecosystem. These fluxes integrated over one year give an estimate of the Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE). They provide a direct measurement of the annual carbon source/sink strength of a particular ecosystem. In order to reduce the uncertainty associated with site-to-site variation on flux measurement methods and calculations, the project is designed with the same hardware and software specifications at all sites. Furthermore data collected at the test sites will be quality controlled, corrected for frequency losses and sensor separation and, when needed, corrected for night-time fluxes with the same procedures.
The consortium will provide significant data on the carbon source/sink strength of a number of European terrestrial ecosystems and as such contribute to the implementation of the Council Decision (199/296/EC) which refers to the monitoring mechanism of Community CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The results of this project will help to implement the relevant articles of the Kyoto Protocol, in particular helping to verify the stock change approach versus flux measurements as requested for carbon accounting in the commitment period.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
54280 Seichamps, Champenoux
603 00 Brno
2610 Wilrijk (Antwerpen)
EH9 3JG Edinburgh