Report

Rising Atmospheric CO2 Reduces Sequestration of Root-Derived Soil Carbon

Science  09 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5741, pp. 1711-1713
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110700

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Abstract

Forests have a key role as carbon sinks, which could potentially mitigate the continuing increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and associated climate change. We show that carbon dioxide enrichment, although causing short-term growth stimulation in a range of European tree species, also leads to an increase in soil microbial respiration and a marked decline in sequestration of root-derived carbon in the soil. These findings indicate that, should similar processes operate in forest ecosystems, the size of the annual terrestrial carbon sink may be substantially reduced, resulting in a positive feedback on the rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

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