15. Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Soil Carbon

Uncertainties and Lessons from Afforestation Case Studies

  1. Thomas J. Sauer2,
  2. John M. Norman3 and
  3. Mannava V. K. Sivakumar4
  1. Philip J. Polglase and
  2. Keryn I. Paul

Published Online: 7 JUN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470960257.ch15

Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics

Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics

How to Cite

Polglase, P. J. and Paul, K. I. (2011) Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Soil Carbon, in Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics (eds T. J. Sauer, J. M. Norman and M. V. K. Sivakumar), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470960257.ch15

Editor Information

  1. 2

    US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, Iowa, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

  3. 4

    Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Author Information

  1. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 JUN 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 JUL 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470958575

Online ISBN: 9780470960257

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Keywords:

  • Afforestation;
  • climate change;
  • forests;
  • models;
  • net primary production;
  • soil carbon

Summary

Globally, forests and their soils contain a large amount of carbon and thus small changes can have significant implications for atmospheric concentrations of CO2. The balance of soil carbon is determined by the difference between inputs from fresh plant litter and losses of CO2 during decomposition. Accurately measuring and predicting what are often small and incremental changes in soil carbon is difficult. Well verified models offer one means by which to asses the effects of climate change and management but, as with all models, their limitations and strengths need to be recognised. This chapter uses examples of afforestation impacts on soil carbon as a basis for describing important processes in linked forest-soil carbon models. It then discusses some of the uncertainties in models and challenges in assessing the impacts of climate change.