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The pan-boreal biome (> N45°) removes CO2 from the atmosphere (i.e., it is a carbon sink). Fires can alter this carbon balance because they release CO2 to the atmosphere but also initiate a long-term carbon sink during post-fire vegetation recovery. We found that historical fires of 1850–2009 have a small net sink contribution (~6 %) to the 2000–2009 regional carbon sink, which is a balance between immediate source effect of fires in 2000–2009 and sink effects of those in 1850–1999.
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Articles | Volume 13, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 13, 675–690, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-675-2016
Biogeosciences, 13, 675–690, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-675-2016

Research article 04 Feb 2016

Research article | 04 Feb 2016

How have past fire disturbances contributed to the current carbon balance of boreal ecosystems?

C. Yue et al.

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Cited articles

Amiro, B. D., Barr, A. G., Barr, J. G., Black, T. A., Bracho, R., Brown, M., Chen, J., Clark, K. L., Davis, K. J., Desai, A. R., Dore, S., Engel, V., Fuentes, J. D., Goldstein, A. H., Goulden, M. L., Kolb, T. E., Lavigne, M. B., Law, B. E., Margolis, H. A., Martin, T., McCaughey, J. H., Misson, L., Montes-Helu, M., Noormets, A., Randerson, J. T., Starr, G., and Xiao, J.: Ecosystem carbon dioxide fluxes after disturbance in forests of North America, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeosci., 115, G00K02, https://doi.org/10.1029/2010JG001390, 2010.
Anderson, R. S., Hallett, D. J., Berg, E., Jass, R. B., Toney, J. L., de Fontaine, C. S., and DeVolder, A.: Holocene development of Boreal forests and fire regimes on the Kenai Lowlands of Alaska, The Holocene, 16, 791–803, 2006.
Balshi, M. S., McGuire, A. D., Zhuang, Q., Melillo, J., Kicklighter, D. W., Kasischke, E., Wirth, C., Flannigan, M., Harden, J., Clein, J. S., Burnside, T. J., McAllister, J., Kurz, W. A., Apps, M., and Shvidenko, A.: The role of historical fire disturbance in the carbon dynamics of the pan-boreal region: A process-based analysis, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeosci., 112, G02029, https://doi.org/10.1029/2006JG000380, 2007.
Beck, P. S. A. and Goetz, S. J.: Satellite observations of high northern latitude vegetation productivity changes between 1982 and 2008: ecological variability and regional differences, Environ. Res. Lett., 6, 045501, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045501, 2011.
Bond, W. J., Woodward, F. I., and Midgley, G. F.: The global distribution of ecosystems in a world without fire, New Phytol., 165, 525–537, 2005.
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Short summary
The pan-boreal biome (> N45°) removes CO2 from the atmosphere (i.e., it is a carbon sink). Fires can alter this carbon balance because they release CO2 to the atmosphere but also initiate a long-term carbon sink during post-fire vegetation recovery. We found that historical fires of 1850–2009 have a small net sink contribution (~6 %) to the 2000–2009 regional carbon sink, which is a balance between immediate source effect of fires in 2000–2009 and sink effects of those in 1850–1999.
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Final-revised paper
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