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Impacts of extreme precipitation on tree plantation carbon cycle

Huang, Mei, Ji, Jinjun, Deng, Feng, Yang, Fengting
Theoretical and applied climatology 2014 v.115 no.3-4 pp. 655-665
atmospheric precipitation, biogeochemical cycles, carbon, carbon sinks, ecosystem respiration, ecosystems, global warming, net ecosystem production, primary productivity, soil water content, trees, vegetation, China
Extreme precipitation events are expected to increase in frequency and magnitude in future due to global warming, but relevant impacts on tree plantation ecosystem carbon cycle are unknown. In this study, we use an atmosphere–vegetation interaction model (AVIM2) to estimate the likely impacts of extreme precipitation events on carbon fluxes and carbon stocks of a tree plantation in south China. Our results indicate that shifting from moderate precipitation events to extreme precipitation events whilst keeping monthly precipitation unchanged could decrease the tree plantation carbon accumulation. Tree plantation net primary productivity, net ecosystem productivity, soil carbon stock and vegetation carbon stock could decrease by 4.2, 28, 4.3 and 1.4 % during the studying period of 1962–2004, respectively. Though reductions in net primary productivity and net ecosystem productivity are relatively smaller than their annual variations, our sensitivity test shows that the tree plantation carbon stock could decrease by 3.3 % if the assumed extreme precipitation regime lasts for 500 years. Observed and simulated gross primary productivity, ecosystem respiration and net ecosystem productivity have significant positive correlation with soil water content (SWC), especially the deep SWC. The mechanism for the extreme precipitation effect is that the increase in extreme precipitation events will cause SWC to decrease, consequently, reducing carbon fluxes and stocks.