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Scenarios of Future Climate and Land-Management Effects on Carbon Stocks in Northern Patagonian Shrublands

Carrera, Analia, Ares, Jorge, Labraga, Juan, Thurner, Stephanie, Bertiller, Mónica
Environmental management 2007 v.40 no.6 pp. 944-957
carbon, carbon sinks, climate, climate change, climate models, ecosystems, grazing intensity, grazing management, land management, normalized difference vegetation index, shrublands, soil, soil organic carbon
We analyzed the possible effects of grazing management and future climate change on carbon (C) stocks in soils of northern Patagonian shrublands. To this aim, we coupled the outputs of three (HadCM3, CSIRO Mk2, and CCSR/NIES) global climate models to the CENTURY (v5.3) model of terrestrial C balance. The CENTURY model was initialized with long-term field data on local biome physiognomy, seasonal phenologic trends, and prevailing land-management systems and was validated with recent sequences of 1-km Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (MODIS-Terra) images and soil C data. In the tested scenarios, the predicted climate changes would result in increased total C in soil organic matter (SOMTC). Maximum SOMTC under changed climate forcing would not differ significantly from that expected under baseline conditions (8 kg m-²). A decrease in grazing intensity would result in SOMTC increases of 11% to 12% even if climate changes did not occur. Climate change would account for SOMTC increases of 5% to 6%.