Articles | Volume 11, issue 19
Research article
02 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 02 Oct 2014

Typhoons exert significant but differential impacts on net ecosystem carbon exchange of subtropical mangrove forests in China

H. Chen, W. Lu, G. Yan, S. Yang, and G. Lin

Abstract. Typhoons are very unpredictable natural disturbances to subtropical mangrove forests in Asian countries, but little information is available on how these disturbances affect ecosystem level carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange of mangrove wetlands. In this study, we examined short-term effect of frequent strong typhoons on defoliation and net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) of subtropical mangroves, and also synthesized 19 typhoons during a 4-year period between 2009 and 2012 to further investigate the regulation mechanisms of typhoons on ecosystem carbon and water fluxes following typhoon disturbances. Strong wind and intensive rainfall caused defoliation and local cooling effect during the typhoon season. Daily total NEE values decreased by 26–50% following some typhoons (e.g., W28-Nockten, W35-Molave and W35-Lio-Fan), but significantly increased (43–131%) following typhoon W23-Babj and W38-Megi. The magnitudes and trends of daily NEE responses were highly variable following different typhoons, which were determined by the balance between the variances of gross ecosystem production (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (RE). Furthermore, results from our synthesis indicated that the landfall time of typhoon, wind speed and rainfall were the most important factors controlling the CO2 fluxes following typhoon events. These findings indicate that different types of typhoon disturbances can exert very different effects on CO2 fluxes of mangrove ecosystems and that typhoon will likely have larger impacts on carbon cycle processes in subtropical mangrove ecosystems as the intensity and frequency of typhoons are predicted to increase under future global climate change scenarios.

Final-revised paper