The Age of Carbon Respired from Terrestrial Ecosystems
Date: Wednesday, September 28 @ 08:30:00 MDT

by Susan Trumbore

Carbon enters ecosystems through a single process, photosynthesis, and nearly all is returned to the atmosphere through respiration, some 50-80% of which occurs below-ground. Soil (belowground) respiration integrates CO2 derived from C that has resided in the ecosystem for periods of differing duration, ranging from relatively recent photosynthetic products that fuel root metabolism, to CO2 derived from decomposition of plant and soil organic matter that may be decades to centuries old. A comparison of the radiocarbon content of CO2 respired by roots, microbes, and soils with the record of radiocarbon in atmospheric CO2 allows direct estimation of the mean age of C being respired [Trumbore 2000; Wang et al. 2000, Cisneros Dozal et al. 2005; Borken et al. 2005].

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This article comes from The 7th International CO2 Conference Web Site

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