Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks

  title={Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks},
  author={Sebastiaan Luyssaert and Ernst‐Detlef Schulze and Annett B{\"o}rner and Alexander Knohl and Dominik Hessenm{\"o}ller and Beverly E. Law and Philippe Ciais and John Grace},
Old-growth forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at rates that vary with climate and nitrogen deposition. The sequestered carbon dioxide is stored in live woody tissues and slowly decomposing organic matter in litter and soil. Old-growth forests therefore serve as a global carbon dioxide sink, but they are not protected by international treaties, because it is generally thought that ageing forests cease to accumulate carbon. Here we report a search of literature and databases for… Expand
Research Article: Soil respiration in upper Great Lakes old-growth forest ecosystems
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Source or Sink? Carbon Dynamics in Eastern Old-Growth Forests and Their Role in Climate Change Mitigation
For decades forest scientists have thought that old-growth temperate forests were either carbon neutral or even carbon sources, emitting more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through respirationExpand
Carbon sequestration: managing forests in uncertain times.
New observations have called long-accepted theories into question: the finding that unharvested forests, for example, are absorbing more carbon than they release, accounting for half the sink, is contrary to the tenet of ecology. Expand
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This chapter investigates biomass, net primary productivity (NPP), and net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of boreal and temperate forest ecosystems in relation to stand density and age. Forests mayExpand
Effects of climate change on biomass carbon sequestration in old-growth forest ecosystems on Changbai Mountain in Northeast China
Abstract Old-growth forest ecosystems are large carbon pools, and recent research has found that old-growth forests generally serve as global carbon sinks. However, the impact of climate change onExpand
An old-growth subtropical Asian evergreen forest as a large carbon sink
Old-growth forests are primarily found in mountain ranges that are less favorable or accessible for land use. Consequently, there are fewer scientific studies on old-growth forests. The eddyExpand
The role of old forests and big trees in forest carbon sequestration in the Pacific Northwest
Forest ecosystems are an important component of the global carbon (C) cycle. Recent research has indicated that large trees in general, and old-growth forests in particular, sequester substantialExpand
Evidence for environmentally enhanced forest growth
The results provide the first ground-based evidence that global environmental changes can increase C sequestration in forests on a broad geographic scale and imply that both the traits and age of trees regulate the responses of forest growth to environmental changes. Expand
Benchmark carbon stocks from old-growth forests in northern New England, USA
Forests world-wide are recognized as important components of the global carbon cycle. Carbon sequestration has become a recognized forest management objective, but the full carbon storage potentialExpand
The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment
Carbon dioxide enrichment of a mature forest resulted in the emission of the excess carbon back into the atmosphere via enhanced ecosystem respiration, suggesting that mature forests may be limited in their capacity to mitigate climate change. Expand


Are old forests underestimated as global carbon sinks
Old forests are important carbon pools, but are thought to be insignificant as current atmospheric carbon sinks. This perception is based on the assumption that changes in productivity with age inExpand
Old-Growth Forests Can Accumulate Carbon in Soils
It is shown that the top 20-centimeter soil layer in preserved old-growth forests in southern China accumulated atmospheric carbon at an unexpectedly high average rate of 0.61 megagrams of carbon hectare-1 year-1 from 1979 to 2003. Expand
Effects on Carbon Storage of Conversion of Old-Growth Forests to Young Forests
Simulations of carbon storage suggest that conversion of old-growth forests to young fast-growing forests will not decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in general, as has been suggestedExpand
The human footprint in the carbon cycle of temperate and boreal forests
It is shown that the temporal dynamics following stand-replacing disturbances do indeed account for a very large fraction of the overall variability in forest carbon sequestration, and that mankind is ultimately controlling the carbon balance of temperate and boreal forests. Expand
The carbon balance of forest biomes
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Carbon cycling and storage in world forests: biome patterns related to forest age
Forest age, which is affected by stand-replacing ecosystem disturbances (such as forest fires, harvesting, or insects), plays a distinguishing role in determining the distribution of carbon (C) poolsExpand
Comparing net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide between an old-growth and mature forest in the upper Midwest, USA
Abstract Old-growth forests are often assumed to exhibit no net carbon assimilation over time periods of several years. This generalization has not been typically supported by the fewExpand
CO2 Balance of Boreal, Temperate, and Tropical Forests Derived from a Global Database
Terrestrial ecosystems sequester 2.1 Pg of atmospheric carbon annually. A large amount of the terrestrial sink is realized by forests. However, considerable uncertainties remain regarding the fate ofExpand
Large carbon uptake by an unmanaged 250-year-old deciduous forest in Central Germany
Unmanaged forests at a late stage of successional development are considered to be insignificant as carbon sinks, since in theory, assimilation is thought to be balanced by respiration. However,Expand
Age-related Decline in Forest Ecosystem Growth: An Individual-Tree, Stand-Structure Hypothesis
It is concluded that part of the universal age-related decline in forest growth derives from competition-related changes in stand structure and the resource-use efficiencies of individual trees. Expand