Siberian carbon sink reduced by forest disturbances

Fan, L., Wigneron, J.-P., Ciais, P., Chave, J., Brandt, M., Sitch, S., Yue, C., Bastos, A., et al. (2023). Siberian carbon sink reduced by forest disturbances. Nature Geoscience 16 56-62. 10.1038/s41561-022-01087-x.

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Siberian forests are generally thought to have acted as an important carbon sink over recent decades, but exposure to severe droughts and fire disturbances may have impacted their carbon dynamics. Limited available forest inventories mean the carbon balance remains uncertain. Here we analyse annual live and dead above-ground carbon changes derived from low-frequency passive microwave observations from 2010 to 2019. We find that during this period, the carbon balance of Siberian forests was close to neutral, with the forests acting as a small carbon sink of +0.02+0.03+0.01 PgC yr−1. Carbon storage in dead wood increased, but this was largely offset by a decrease in live biomass. Substantial losses of live above-ground carbon are attributed to fire and drought, such as the widespread fires in northern Siberia in 2012 and extreme drought in eastern Siberia in 2015. These live above-ground carbon losses contrast with ‘greening’ trends seen in leaf area index over the same period, a decoupling explained by faster post-disturbance recovery of leaf area than live above-ground carbon. Our study highlights the vulnerability of large forest carbon stores in Siberia to climate-induced disturbances, challenging the persistence of the carbon sink in this region of the globe.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 09:46
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2023 11:32

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