Impacts of disturbance on the terrestrial carbon budget of North America


Corresponding author: E. S. Kasischke, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, 2181 LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA. (


[1] Because it is an important regulator of terrestrial carbon cycling in North America, extensive research on natural and human disturbances has been carried out as part of the North American Carbon Program and the CarboNA project. A synthesis of various components of this research was carried out, and the results are presented in the papers contained in this special section. While the synthesis primarily focused on the impacts of fire, insects/disease, and harvesting on terrestrial carbon cycling in forests, several groups focused on impacts of disturbance on woody encroachment in western U.S. dry lands and on soil carbon present in northern high-latitude regions. Here, we present a summary of the results from these papers, along with the findings and recommendations from the disturbance synthesis.