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Carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park predicted from remote sensing data and simulation modeling

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Author(s): Potter Christopher | Klooster Steven | Crabtree Robert | Huang Shengli | Gross Peggy | Genovese Vanessa

Journal: Carbon Balance and Management
ISSN 1750-0680

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background A simulation model based on remote sensing data for spatial vegetation properties has been used to estimate ecosystem carbon fluxes across Yellowstone National Park (YNP). The CASA (Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach) model was applied at a regional scale to estimate seasonal and annual carbon fluxes as net primary production (NPP) and soil respiration components. Predicted net ecosystem production (NEP) flux of CO2 is estimated from the model for carbon sinks and sources over multi-year periods that varied in climate and (wildfire) disturbance histories. Monthly Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) image coverages from the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument (from 2000 to 2006) were direct inputs to the model. New map products have been added to CASA from airborne remote sensing of coarse woody debris (CWD) in areas burned by wildfires over the past two decades. Results Model results indicated that relatively cooler and wetter summer growing seasons were the most favorable for annual plant production and net ecosystem carbon gains in representative landscapes of YNP. When summed across vegetation class areas, the predominance of evergreen forest and shrubland (sagebrush) cover was evident, with these two classes together accounting for 88% of the total annual NPP flux of 2.5 Tg C yr-1 (1 Tg = 1012 g) for the entire Yellowstone study area from 2000-2006. Most vegetation classes were estimated as net ecosystem sinks of atmospheric CO2 on annual basis, making the entire study area a moderate net sink of about +0.13 Tg C yr-1. This average sink value for forested lands nonetheless masks the contribution of areas burned during the 1988 wildfires, which were estimated as net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere, totaling to a NEP flux of -0.04 Tg C yr-1 for the entire burned area. Several areas burned in the 1988 wildfires were estimated to be among the lowest in overall yearly NPP, namely the Hellroaring Fire, Mink Fire, and Falls Fire areas. Conclusions Rates of recovery for burned forest areas to pre-1988 biomass levels were estimated from a unique combination of remote sensing and CASA model predictions. Ecosystem production and carbon fluxes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) result from complex interactions between climate, forest age structure, and disturbance-recovery patterns of the landscape.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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