Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Localized erosion affects national carbon budget
Article first published online: 11 JAN 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 1, January 2006
How to Cite
2006), Localized erosion affects national carbon budget, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L01402, doi:10.1029/2005GL024644., , , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 11 JAN 2006
- Article first published online: 11 JAN 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 NOV 2005
- Manuscript Revised: 11 NOV 2005
- Manuscript Received: 13 SEP 2005
 Small mountainous rivers discharge disproportionate amounts of sediment and carbon to the Earth's oceans. Our New Zealand data demonstrates that localized erosion plays a greater role in C budgets than has been recognized in national and global studies. We estimate that New Zealand's rivers export 4 ± 1 Mg C km−2 yr−1 of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and 10 ± 3 Mg C km−2 yr−1 of particulate organic carbon (POC) (2 and 6 times the global average), which is equivalent to 40% of New Zealand's fossil fuel emissions. Under intact native vegetation in mountain-belt hot spots, POC export greatly exceeds CO2 consumption from mineral weathering. Moreover, deforestation of fertile steepland greatly accelerates POC loss, evidenced by 1.7% of New Zealand's land area which generates 20% of exported POC. Thus, localized erosion deserves increased attention in C budgets and accounting.