Carbon and energy exchange of semi-arid ecosystems with heterogeneous canopy structure Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/q237ht92d

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  • Carbon and energy fluxes were measured with the eddy covariance technique above two semi-arid ecosystems, ponderosa pine and juniper/sagebrush, located in central Oregon. The two ecosystems have low LAI and a very open canopy structure. The energy closure was ~70-80% at both ecosystems, equivalent to an imbalance of 150-250 W m⁻² on cloudless summer days, when net radiation (R[subscript n]) was ~600-700 W m⁻². The lack of closure cannot be explained by the uncertainty of an estimate of available energy due to a single R[subscript n] sensor location. At the more open juniper/sagebrush ecosystem, a numerical model showed that spatial variation in R[subscript n], even for large differences in surface radiation temperature and reflection coefficient between ecosystem components (soil and vegetation), is less than 10% of measured R[subscript n]. The uncertainty in R[subscript n] at the two-layered ponderosa pine ecosystem with patches of young and old-growth trees is expected to be smaller than at the juniper ecosystem. Net carbon exchange (NEE) at the pine site strongly depends on environmental factors effecting carbon assimilation (A[subscript c]) and ecosystem respiration (R[subscript e]). A more detailed analysis of the carbon budget showed a strong negative response of carbon uptake to large vapor pressure deficits (VPD), whereas water vapor exchange (LE) was less affected. At large VPD the vegetation maintains a sustainable water flow through the soil-plant system by stomatal control of transpiration. The stomatal closure leads to limitation in A[subscript c], but LE is subject to a positive feedback from higher evaporative demand. Annual NEE of the ponderosa pine forest (200-300 gC m⁻²) was in the mid-range of reported NEE of temperate forest ecosystems, though, unusually, much of the annual carbon gain occurred during the fall through spring, because the relatively mild winters allowed carbon assimilation to occur and R[subscript e] rates were low. The information gathered at our ponderosa pine site during two years with contrasting climate suggests that the carbon uptake of the ponderosa pine ecosystem will be more sensitive to global climate change than the water vapor exchange.
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