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Keywords:

  • arctic;
  • Alaska;
  • Sweden;
  • tundra;
  • net ecosystem production;
  • light response;
  • landscape heterogeneity;
  • CO2 flux;
  • carbon balance

Summary

  • 1
    Arctic landscapes are characterized by extreme vegetation patchiness, often with sharply defined borders between very different vegetation types. This patchiness makes it difficult to predict landscape-level C balance and its change in response to environment.
  • 2
    Here we develop a model of net CO2 flux by arctic landscapes that is independent of vegetation composition, using instead a measure of leaf area derived from NDVI (normalized-difference vegetation index).
  • 3
    Using the light response of CO2 flux (net ecosystem exchange, NEE) measured in a wide range of vegetation in arctic Alaska and Sweden, we exercise the model using various data subsets for parameter estimation and tests of predictions.
  • 4
    Overall, the model consistently explains ~80% of the variance in NEE knowing only the estimated leaf area index (LAI), photosynthetically active photon flux density (PPFD) and air temperature.
  • 5
    Model parameters derived from measurements made in one site or vegetation type can be used to predict NEE in other sites or vegetation types with acceptable accuracy and precision. Further improvements in model prediction may come from incorporating an estimate of moss area in addition to LAI, and from using vegetation-specific estimates of LAI.
  • 6
    The success of this model at predicting NEE independent of any information on species composition indicates a high level of convergence in canopy structure and function in the arctic landscape.