Biotic carbon feedbacks in a materially closed soil-vegetation-atmosphere system


Milcu A, Lukac M, Subke J, Manning P, Heinemeyer A, Wildman D, Anderson R & Ineson P (2012) Biotic carbon feedbacks in a materially closed soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. Nature Climate Change, 2 (4), pp. 281-284.;

The magnitude and direction of the coupled feedbacks between the biotic and abiotic components of the terrestrial carbon cycle is a major source of uncertainty in coupled climate-carboncycle models. Materially closed, energetically open biological systems continuously and simultaneously allow the two-way feedback loop between the biotic and abiotic components to take place, but so far have not been used to their full potential in ecological research, owing to the challenge of achieving sustainable model systems. We show that using materially closed soil-vegetation-atmosphere systems with pro rata carbon amounts for the main terrestrial carbon pools enables the establishment of conditions that balance plant carbon assimilation, and autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration fluxes over periods suitable to investigate shortterm biotic carbon feedbacks. Using this approach, we tested an alternative way of assessing the impact of increased CO2 and temperature on biotic carbon feedbacks. The results show that without nutrient and water limitations, the shortterm biotic responses could potentially buffer a temperature increase of 2.3 °C without significant positive feedbacks to atmospheric CO2. We argue that such closed-system research represents an important test-bed platform for model validation and parameterization of plant and soil biotic responses to environmental changes

Climate change; Global carbon cycle; CO2; Plant-soil-atmosphere feedback; Anthropogenic CO2 emissions; Stable isotopes

Nature Climate Change: Volume 2, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2012
Publication date online11/03/2012
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Publisher URL…04026fe76467267a