Seasonal and annual variations in the photosynthetic productivity and carbon balance of a central Siberian pine forest

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Lloyd, Jon ; Shibistova, Olga ; Zolotoukhine, Daniil ; Kolle, Olaf ; Arneth, Almut ; Wirth, Christian ; Styles, Julie M. ; Tchebakova, N. M. ; Schulze, E.-Detlef (2002)

We present a first analysis of data (June 1998 to December 2000) from the long-term eddy covariance site established in a Pinus sylvestris stand near Zotino in central Siberia as part of the EUROSIBERIAN CARBONFLUX project. As well as examining seasonal patterns in net ecosystem exchange (NE), daily, seasonal and annual estimates of the canopy photosynthesis (or gross primary productivity, GP) were obtained using NE and ecosystem respiration measurements.Although the forest was a small (but significant) source of CO2 throughout the snow season (typically mid-October to early May) there was a rapid commencement of photosynthetic capacity shortly following the commencement of above-zero air temperatures in spring: in 1999 the forest went from a quiescent state to significant photosynthetic activity in only a few days. Nevertheless, canopy photosynthetic capacity was observed to continue to increase slowly throughout the summer months for both 1999 and 2000, reaching a maximum capacity in early August. During September there was a marked decline in canopy photosynthesis which was only partially attributable to less favourable environmental conditions. This suggests a reduction in canopy photosynthetic capacity in autumn, perhaps associated with the cold hardening process. For individual time periods the canopy photosynthetic rate was mostly dependent upon incoming photon irradiance. However, reductions in both canopy conductance and overall photosynthetic rate in response to high canopy-to-air vapour differences were clearly evident on hot dry days. The relationship between canopy conductance and photosynthesis was examined using Cowan's notion of optimality in which stomata serve to maximise the marginal evaporative cost of plant carbon gain. The associated Lagrangian multiplier (λ) was surprisingly constant throughout the growing season. Somewhat remarkably, however, its value was markedly different between years, being 416 mol mol−1 in 1999 but 815 mol mol−1 in 2000. Overall the forest was a substantial sink for CO2 in both 1999 and 2000: around 13 mol C m−2 a−1. Data from this experiment, when combined with estimates of net primary productivity from biomass sampling suggest that about 20% of this sink was associated with increasing plant biomass and about 80% with an increase in the litter and soil organic carbon pools. This high implied rate of carbon accumulation in the litter soil organic matter pool seems unsustainable in the long term and is hard to explain on the basis of current knowledge.DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2002.01487.x
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