PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Slow in, Rapid out--Carbon Flux Studies and Kyoto Targets

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Science  23 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5623, pp. 1242-1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084460

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Many researchers currently attempt to measure the detailed carbon balance of forests, because net release or uptake of carbon by forests could have a large impact on the atmosphere's COconcentration. However, carbon enters forests slowly over large areas and is commonly emitted rapidly over small areas, for example, by fire, logging, and natural gap formation. In his Perspective, Körner warns that because of the spatial and temporal separation of the two processes, regional long-term carbon sequestration is not accessible via flux or growth studies at the plot scale.