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Category: Ecological Research

Title: Working Paper 35: Carbon Cycling in Southwestern Forests: Reservoirs, Fluxes, and the Effects of Fire and Management

Author: Swetnam, T.L., Falk, D.A.

Subject: Carbon Cycling, Fire Management

Abstract: Forests play a key role in regulating the carbon cycle of the Earth system. Understanding carbon storage in forest ecosystems has become increasingly important as human activities release more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth’s atmosphere. The intent of this working paper is to explain the basics of the carbon cycle detailing how much carbon moves through vegetation, water, and soils over time. The paper also summarizes where current science suggests that carbon cycling patterns are most likely to change in the coming years to decades, and how management can influence these changes. Water (H2O) and atmospheric gases, particularly carbon dioxide, interact with living things, soils and rock to regulate natural habitats and sustain ecosystems (NRC 2001). The capacity of landscapes to transfer (“flux”) and store (“sequester”) elemental carbon has a direct effect on atmospheric concentrations of CO2 with further feedbacks on the water and nitrogen cycles. In the literature, carbon contained in vegetation and soils is typically referred to as “reservoirs” or “pools” (Post et al. 1990, Schimel 1995, Cole et al. 2007).

Date: 2015

Type: Working Papers

Source: Ecological Restoration Institute/Southwest Fire Science Consortium

Identifier: 15 p.

Publisher: Ecological Restoration Institute/SouthWest Fire Consortium/NAU

Format: PDF

Language: English