Articles | Volume 11, issue 10
Research article
16 May 2014
Research article |  | 16 May 2014

Impacts of droughts on carbon sequestration by China's terrestrial ecosystems from 2000 to 2011

Y. Liu, Y. Zhou, W. Ju, S. Wang, X. Wu, M. He, and G. Zhu

Abstract. In recent years, China's terrestrial ecosystems have experienced frequent droughts. How these droughts have affected carbon sequestration by the terrestrial ecosystems is still unclear. In this study, the process-based Boreal Ecosystem Productivity Simulator (BEPS) model, driven by remotely sensed vegetation parameters, was employed to assess the effects of droughts on net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of terrestrial ecosystems in China from 2000 to 2011. Droughts of differing severity, as indicated by a standard precipitation index (SPI), hit terrestrial ecosystems in China extensively in 2001, 2006, 2009, and 2011. The national total annual NEP exhibited the slight decline of −11.3 Tg C yr−2 during the aforementioned years of extensive droughts. The NEP reduction ranged from 61.1 Tg C yr−1 to 168.8 Tg C yr−1. National and regional total NEP anomalies were correlated with the annual mean SPI, especially in Northwest China, North China, Central China, and Southwest China. The reductions in annual NEP in 2001 and 2011 might have been caused by a larger decrease in annual gross primary productivity (GPP) than in annual ecosystem respiration (ER). The reductions experienced in 2009 might be due to a decrease in annual GPP and an increase in annual ER, while reductions in 2006 could stem from a larger increase in ER than in GPP. The effects of droughts on NEP lagged up to 3–6 months, due to different responses of GPP and ER. In eastern China, where is humid and warm, droughts have predominant and short-term lagged influences on NEP. In western regions, cold and arid, the drought effects on NEP were relatively weaker but prone to lasting longer.

Final-revised paper