Plant regrowth as a driver of recent enhancement of terrestrial CO2 uptake

Masayuki Kondo, Kazuhito Ichii, Prabir Patra, Benjamin Poulter, Leonardo Calle, Charles Koven, Thomas Pugh, Etsushi Kato, Anna Harper, Sönke Zaehle, Andy Wiltshire

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The increasing strength of land CO2 uptake in the 2000s has been attributed to a stimulating effect of rising atmospheric CO2 on photosynthesis (CO2 fertilization). Using terrestrial biosphere models, we show that enhanced CO2 uptake is induced not only by CO2 fertilization, but also an increasing uptake by plant regrowth (accounting for 0.33±0.10 Pg C yr‐1 increase of CO2 uptake in the 2000s compared with the 1960s−1990s) with its effect most pronounced in eastern North America, southern‐eastern Europe, and southeastern temperate Eurasia. Our analysis indicates that ecosystems in North America and Europe have established the current productive state through regrowth since the 1960s, and those in temperate Eurasia are still in a stage from regrowth following active afforestation in the 1980s−1990s. As the strength of model representation of CO2 fertilization is still in debate, plant regrowth might have a greater potential to sequester carbon than indicated by this study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2018


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