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Title: Measuring the Effects of Disturbance & Climate on the CO2 & Energy Exchange of Ponderosa Pine Forests in the Pacific Northwest: Integration of Eddy Flux, Plant and Soil Measurements

Abstract

The goal is to quantify and understand the influence of climate and disturbance on ecosystem processes and thus net carbon uptake by forests. The objective is to combine tower and ground-based observations to quantify the effects of disturbance on processes controlling carbon storage and CO{sub 2} and energy exchange in varying climatic conditions. Specific objectives are: (1) Investigate the effects of logging and fire on carbon storage and carbon dioxide and energy exchange in chronosequences of ponderosa pine, using consistent methodology; (2) Determine key environmental factors controlling carbon storage and carbon dioxide and energy exchange in these forests through a combination of measurements and process modeling; and (3) Assess spatial variation of the concentrations and transport in complex terrain. The eddy covariance method is used for measurements of CO2, water vapor, and energy exchanges in a chronosequence of ponderosa pine forests (burned in 2002 wildfire, 10 year-old stand, 90 year-old mature stand). The mature stand has been an AmeriFlux site since 2000 (following previous flux sites in young and old stands initiated in 1996). In addition to the eddy covariance measurements, a large suite of biological processes and ecosystem properties are determined for the purpose of developing independent forest carbonmore » budgets and NEP estimates; these include photosynthesis, stand respiration, soil CO{sub 2} fluxes, annual litterfall, foliar chemistry, and bole increment, and soil organic matter among other parameters. The measurements are being integrated and evaluated with two ecosystem models (BIOME-BGC and SPA). Such analyses are needed to assess regional terrestrial ecosystem carbon budgets. The results will contribute scientific understanding of carbon processes, and will provide comprehensive data sets for forest managers and those preparing national carbon inventories to use in assessments of carbon sequestration in relation to interannual climate variation and disturbance. Frameworks and methodologies developed by the PI will contribute to AmeriFlux Network facility functions for data acquisition, exchange and modeling of results in a broad spectrum of carbon cycle research.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
896920
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER/63653
TRN: US200915%%267
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-03ER63653
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; CARBON CYCLE; CARBON DIOXIDE; CARBON SEQUESTRATION; CHEMISTRY; CLIMATES; COMPLEX TERRAIN; DATA ACQUISITION; DISTURBANCES; ECOSYSTEMS; ENERGY TRANSFER; FORESTS; INVENTORIES; ORGANIC MATTER; PHOTOSYNTHESIS; PINES; RESPIRATION; SOILS; STORAGE; TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS; WATER VAPOR

Citation Formats

Beverly E. Law, and Larry Mahrt. Measuring the Effects of Disturbance & Climate on the CO2 & Energy Exchange of Ponderosa Pine Forests in the Pacific Northwest: Integration of Eddy Flux, Plant and Soil Measurements. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/896920.
Beverly E. Law, & Larry Mahrt. Measuring the Effects of Disturbance & Climate on the CO2 & Energy Exchange of Ponderosa Pine Forests in the Pacific Northwest: Integration of Eddy Flux, Plant and Soil Measurements. United States. doi:10.2172/896920.
Beverly E. Law, and Larry Mahrt. Fri . "Measuring the Effects of Disturbance & Climate on the CO2 & Energy Exchange of Ponderosa Pine Forests in the Pacific Northwest: Integration of Eddy Flux, Plant and Soil Measurements". United States. doi:10.2172/896920. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/896920.
@article{osti_896920,
title = {Measuring the Effects of Disturbance & Climate on the CO2 & Energy Exchange of Ponderosa Pine Forests in the Pacific Northwest: Integration of Eddy Flux, Plant and Soil Measurements},
author = {Beverly E. Law and Larry Mahrt},
abstractNote = {The goal is to quantify and understand the influence of climate and disturbance on ecosystem processes and thus net carbon uptake by forests. The objective is to combine tower and ground-based observations to quantify the effects of disturbance on processes controlling carbon storage and CO{sub 2} and energy exchange in varying climatic conditions. Specific objectives are: (1) Investigate the effects of logging and fire on carbon storage and carbon dioxide and energy exchange in chronosequences of ponderosa pine, using consistent methodology; (2) Determine key environmental factors controlling carbon storage and carbon dioxide and energy exchange in these forests through a combination of measurements and process modeling; and (3) Assess spatial variation of the concentrations and transport in complex terrain. The eddy covariance method is used for measurements of CO2, water vapor, and energy exchanges in a chronosequence of ponderosa pine forests (burned in 2002 wildfire, 10 year-old stand, 90 year-old mature stand). The mature stand has been an AmeriFlux site since 2000 (following previous flux sites in young and old stands initiated in 1996). In addition to the eddy covariance measurements, a large suite of biological processes and ecosystem properties are determined for the purpose of developing independent forest carbon budgets and NEP estimates; these include photosynthesis, stand respiration, soil CO{sub 2} fluxes, annual litterfall, foliar chemistry, and bole increment, and soil organic matter among other parameters. The measurements are being integrated and evaluated with two ecosystem models (BIOME-BGC and SPA). Such analyses are needed to assess regional terrestrial ecosystem carbon budgets. The results will contribute scientific understanding of carbon processes, and will provide comprehensive data sets for forest managers and those preparing national carbon inventories to use in assessments of carbon sequestration in relation to interannual climate variation and disturbance. Frameworks and methodologies developed by the PI will contribute to AmeriFlux Network facility functions for data acquisition, exchange and modeling of results in a broad spectrum of carbon cycle research.},
doi = {10.2172/896920},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 05 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Fri Jan 05 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This is the final technical report containing a summary of all findings with regard to the following objectives of the project: (1) To quantify and understand the effects of wildfire on carbon storage and the exchanges of energy, CO2, and water vapor in a chronosequence of ponderosa pine (disturbance gradient); (2) To investigate the effects of seasonal and interannual variation in climate on carbon storage and the exchanges of energy, CO2, and water vapor in mature conifer forests in two climate zones: mesic 40-yr old Douglas-fir and semi-arid 60-yr old ponderosa pine (climate gradient); (3) To reduce uncertainty in estimatesmore » of CO2 feedbacks to the atmosphere by providing an improved model formulation for existing biosphere-atmosphere models; and (4) To provide high quality data for AmeriFlux and the NACP on micrometeorology, meteorology, and biology of these systems. Objective (1): A study integrating satellite remote sensing, AmeriFlux data, and field surveys in a simulation modeling framework estimated that the pyrogenic carbon emissions, tree mortality, and net carbon exchange associated with four large wildfires that burned ~50,000 hectares in 2002-2003 were equivalent to 2.4% of Oregon statewide anthropogenic carbon emissions over the same two-year period. Most emissions were from the combustion of the forest floor and understory vegetation, and only about 1% of live tree mass was combusted on average. Objective (2): A study of multi-year flux records across a chronosequence of ponderosa pine forests yielded that the net carbon uptake is over three times greater at a mature pine forest compared with young pine. The larger leaf area and wetter and cooler soils of the mature forest mainly caused this effect. A study analyzing seven years of carbon and water dynamics showed that interannual and seasonal variability of net carbon exchange was primarily related to variability in growing season length, which was a linear function of plant-available soil moisture in spring and early summer. A multi-year drought (2001-2003) led to a significant reduction of net ecosystem exchange due to carry-over effects in soil moisture and carbohydrate reserves in plant-tissue. In the same forest, the interannual variability in the rate carbon is lost from the soil and forest floor is considerable and related to the variability in tree growth as much as it is to variability in soil climatic conditions. Objective (3): Flux data from the mature ponderosa pine site support a physical basis for filtering nighttime data with friction velocity above the canopy. An analysis of wind fields and heat transport in the subcanopy at the mesic 40-year old Douglas site yielded that the non-linear structure and behavior of spatial temperature gradients and the flow field require enhanced sensor networks to estimate advective fluxes in the subcanopy of forest to close the surface energy balance in forests. Reliable estimates for flux uncertainties are needed to improve model validation and data assimilation in process-based carbon models, inverse modeling studies and model-data synthesis, where the uncertainties may be as important as the fluxes themselves. An analysis of the time scale dependence of the random and flux sampling error yielded that the additional flux obtained by increasing the perturbation timescale beyond about 10 minutes is dominated by random sampling error, and therefore little confidence can be placed in its value. Artificial correlation between gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) and ecosystem respiration (Re) is a consequence of flux partitioning of eddy covariance flux data when GEP is computed as the difference between NEE and computed daytime Re (e.g. using nighttime Re extrapolated into daytime using soil or air temperatures). Tower-data must be adequately spatially averaged before comparison to gridded model output as the time variability of both is inherently different. The eddy-covariance data collected at the mature ponderosa pine site and the mesic Douglas fir site were used to develop and evaluate a new method to extract the signal of ecosystem respiration directly from daytime net ecosystem exchange. This approach may help reducing uncertainty in carbon budgets by providing direct measurements of ecosystem respiration during daylight conditions by replacing modeled estimates. Objective (4): We submitted our flux and biological and ancillary data to the AmeriFlux web site and to Fluxnet. This includes atmospheric carbon, water, and heat fluxes, soil fluxes, NPP, carbon stocks, LAI, and disturbance history. Fluxnet is updating the original La Thuile files and will include the more recent years of data. They will be using a new approach to compute GPP, following discussions within the network about the need to improve GPP methodology« less
  • Investigate the effects of disturbance and climate variables on processes controlling carbon and water processes at AmeriFlux cluster sites in semi-arid and mesic forests in Oregon. The observations were made at three existing and productive AmeriFlux research sites that represent climate and disturbance gradients as a natural experiment of the influence of climatic and hydrologic variability on carbon sequestration and resulting atmospheric CO 2 feedback that includes anomalies during the warm/ dry phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
  • The silviculture of ponderosa pine in the Pacific Northwest States of Washington and Oregon is described. The timber resource, growth, and value are discussed first, followed by damaging agents, management, and silviculture. Relevant literature is presented along with observations, experience, and results of unpublished work. Research needs for the future are also proposed.
  • Pacific Northwest (PNW) prairies are an imperiled ecosystem that contain a large number of plant species with high fidelity to this habitat. The few remaining high-quality PNW prairies harbor a number of sensitive, rare, and endangered plant species that may be further at-risk with climate change. Thus, PNW prairies are an excellent model system to examine how climate change will affect the distribution of native plant species in grassland sites. Our experimental objectives were to determine: (i) how climate change will affect the range distribution of native plant species; (ii) what life history stages are most sensitive to climate changemore » in a group of key indicator native species; (iii) the robustness of current restoration techniques and suites of species to changing climate, and in particular, the relative competitiveness of native species versus exotic invasive species; and (iv) the effects of climate change on carbon and nutrient cycling and soil-microbial-plant feedbacks. We addressed these objectives by experimentally increasing temperature 2.5 to 3.0 ºC above ambient with overhead infrared lamps and increasing wet-season precipitation by 20% above ambient in three upland prairie sites in central-western Washington, central-western Oregon, and southwestern Oregon from fall 2010 through 2012. Additional precipitation was applied within 2 weeks of when it fell so precipitation intensity was increased, particularly during the winter rainy season but with minimal additions during the summer dry season. These three sites also represent a 520-km natural climate gradient of increasing degree of severity of Mediterranean climate from north to south. After removing the extant vegetation, we planted a diverse suite of 12 native species that have their northern range limit someplace within the PNW in each experimental plot. An additional 20 more wide-spread native species were also planted into each plot. We found that recruitment of plant species within their ranges was negatively impacted by increased temperatures, but for species planted north of their current range, increased temperature was neutral. However, for surviving plants climate treatments and site-specific factors (e.g., nutrient availability) were the strongest predictors of plant growth and seed set. When recruitment and plant growth are considered together, increased temperatures are negative within a species current range but beyond this range they become positive. Germination was the most critical stage for plant response across all sites and climate treatments. Our results underscore the importance of including plant vital rates into models that are examining climate change effects on plant ranges. Warming altered plant community composition, decreased diversity, and increased total cover, with warmed northern communities over time becoming more like ambient communities further south. In particular, warming increased the cover of annual introduced species, suggesting that the observed biogeographic pattern of increasing invasion by this plant functional group in US West Coast prairies as one moves further south is at least in part due to climate. Our results suggest that with the projected increase in drought severity with climate change, Pacific Northwest prairies may face an increase of invasion by annuals, similar to what has been observed in California, resulting in novel species assemblages and shifts in functional composition, which in turn may alter ecosystem function. Warming generally increased nutrient availability and plant productivity across all sites. The seasonality of soil respiration responses to heating were strongly dependent on the Mediterranean climate gradient in the PNW, with heating responses being generally positive during periods of adequate soil moisture and becoming neutral to negative during periods of low soil moisture. The asynchrony between temperature and precipitation may make soils less sensitive to warming. Precipitation effects were minimal for all measured responses indicating the importance of increased temperatures in driving biotic responses to climate change in Mediterranean ecosystems. However, substantially increased precipitation during the dry season would almost certainly have profound effects, but the opposite is predicted by current climate change models for the PNW. A manipulative climate change experiment embedded within a natural climate gradient provides unique insights into the degree to which biotic responses to climate change are regionally consistent and site-dependent. Perhaps surprisingly, most climatic effects that we observed were either consistent in the three sites or could be readily interpreted in terms of the gradient of increasing intensity of the Mediterranean climate from north to south.« less
  • Global climate change could have significant consequences for biological diversity in Pacific Northwest (PNW) forested ecosystems, particularly in areas already threatened by anthropogenic activities and the resultant habitat modification and fragmentation. The forests of the Pacific Northwest have a high biological diversity, not only in terms of tree species, but also in terms of herbs, bryophytes and hepatophytes, algae, fungi, protist, bacteria, and many groups of vertebrates and invertebrates. Global circulation and vegetation model projections of global climate change effects on PNW forests include reductions in species diversity in low elevation forests as well as elevational and latitudinal shifts inmore » species ranges. As species are most likely to be stressed at the edges of their ranges, plant and animal species with low mobility, or those that are prevented from migrating by lack of habitat corridors, may become regionally extinct. Endangered species with limited distribution may be especially vulnerable to shifts in habitat conditions.« less