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Nitrogen-related contrains of large-scale afforestation to sequester carbon: simulation study for climate change and management scenarios

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Kracher,  Daniela
Global Vegetation Modelling, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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eft2253.pdf
(Publisher version), 13MB

Supplementary Material (public)

Kracher-Supp.tar.gz
(Supplementary material), 2MB

Citation

Kracher, D. (2017). Nitrogen-related contrains of large-scale afforestation to sequester carbon: simulation study for climate change and management scenarios. Earth's Future, 5, 1102-1118. doi:10.1002/2017EF000622.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-DFD6-7
Abstract
Increase of forest areas has the potential to increase the terrestrial carbon (C) sink. However, the efficiency for C sequestration depends on the availability of nutrients such as nitrogen (N), which is affected by climatic conditions and management practices. In this study, I analyze how N limitation affects C sequestration of afforestation and how it is influenced by individual climate variables, increased harvest, and fertilizer application. To this end, JSBACH, the land component of the Earth system model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology is applied in idealized simulation experiments. In those simulations, large-scale afforestation increases the terrestrial C sink in the 21st century by around 100 Pg C compared to a business as usual land-use scenario. N limitation reduces C sequestration roughly by the same amount. The relevance of compensating effects of uptake and release of carbon dioxide by plant productivity and soil decomposition, respectively, gets obvious from the simulations. N limitation of both fluxes compensates particularly in the tropics. Increased mineralization under global warming triggers forest expansion, which otherwise is restricted by N availability. Due to compensating higher plant productivity and soil respiration, the global net effect of warming for C sequestration is however rather small. Fertilizer application and increased harvest enhance C sequestration as well as boreal expansion. The additional C sequestration achieved by fertilizer application is offset to a large part by additional emissions of nitrous oxide.