New Insights into Fluvial Carbon Responses to Future Forest Management and Climate Change Obtained from Multi-Scale Modelling of Biogeochemical Processes
Friday, 19 December 2014
The boreal ecozone covers 2x107
of the northern circumpolar region and includes 29% of the world’s forests. The boreal consists of mosaic of forest/wetland landscape elements and stores about 500 Gt3
carbon (C) with a delicate sink-source C balance. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is the main form of C exported from boreal landscapes and is fundamental to global C cycling. This northern ecosystem is vulnerable to global climate change, and increasing demands for forest products threaten its surface water resources. So far, there have been no attempts to assess the combined impacts of climate change and forest management on the future DOC fluxes from boreal surface waters. While differences in model assumptions may have negligible effects on present day simulations, these differences could be amplified when projecting the future climate and land use change conditions. Here we use an ensemble of regional climate models and multi-scale models of biogeochemical processes to gain insights into uncertainties associated with climate change and forest management on C and runoff dynamics in boreal landscape. While there are significant uncertainties associated with model projections, our results show that climate change will be the main driver of long term DOC dynamics in meso- to large boreal catchments in the future. However, forestry intensifies hydrological processes and can lead to large DOC fluxes at the headwater scales.