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Radiocarbon constraints for models of C cycling in terrestrial ecosystems: from process understanding to global benchmarking

Objective

The overall goal of 14Constraint is to enhance the availability and use of radiocarbon data as constraints for process-based understanding of the age distribution of carbon in and respired by soils and ecosystems. Carbon enters ecosystems by a single process, photosynthesis. It returns by a range of processes that depend on plant allocation and turnover, the efficiency and rate of litter decomposition and the mechanisms stabilizing C in soils. Thus the age distribution of respired CO2 and the age of C residing in plants, litter and soils are diagnostic properties of ecosystems that provide key constraints for testing carbon cycle models. Radiocarbon, especially the transit of ‘bomb’ 14C created in the 1960s, is a powerful tool for tracing C exchange on decadal to centennial timescales. 14Constraint will assemble a global database of existing radiocarbon data (WP1) and demonstrate how they can constrain and test ecosystem carbon cycle models. WP2 will fill data gaps and add new data from sites in key biomes that have ancillary data sufficient to construct belowground C and 14C budgets. These detailed investigations will focus on the role of time lags caused in necromass and fine roots, as well as the dynamics of deep soil C. Spatial extrapolation beyond the WP2 sites will require sampling along global gradients designed to explore the relative roles of mineralogy, vegetation and climate on the age of C in and respired from soil (WP3). Products of this 14Constraint will include the first publicly available global synthesis of terrestrial 14C data, and will add over 5000 new measurements. This project is urgently needed before atmospheric 14C levels decline to below 1950 levels as expected in the next decade.
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Host institution

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Address

Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Muenchen

Germany

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 1 853 872

Beneficiaries (2)

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MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 1 853 872

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

United States

EU Contribution

€ 429 875

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 695101

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 December 2016

  • End date

    30 November 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 283 747

  • EU contribution

    € 2 283 747

Hosted by:

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV

Germany