Kirschbaum, M.U.F., Keith, H., Leuning, R., Cleugh, H.A., Jacobsen, K.L., van Gorsel, E., Raison, R.J. (2007). Modelling net ecosystem carbon and water exchange of a temperate Eucalyptus delegatensis forest using multiple constraints. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 145: 48-68.


Abstract. This study examined the carbon budget of a Eucalyptus delegatensis forest over four years under contrasting weather conditions by using a comprehensive forest-growth model (CenW 3.1). Model parameterisation was constrained through multiple measurements, including daytime eddy flux measurements of CO2 and water vapour exchange, estimates of above- and below-ground biomass pools, growth rates measured through stem-diameter increments and measurement of specific ecosystem processes, such as litter fall and soil respiration rates.


The resultant estimates of net ecosystem exchange ranged from an uptake of 4.0 t C ha-1 year-1 in a year with adequate rainfall to a loss of 0.4 t C ha-1 year-1 in a year affected by drought and insect damage. The simulations indicated that this reduction in carbon gain was primarily due to insect damage rather than a direct consequence of water shortage. Under good growing conditions, carbon gain accumulated equally in stem wood and other biomass pools while soil organic carbon and woody litter were gradually decreasing following harvesting that had occurred 20 years earlier. Under more stressful conditions, net biomass increments decreased, while soil organic carbon and woody litter increased because of greater litter inputs and because drier conditions inhibited decomposition.


Modelled estimates of photosynthesis and net ecosystem exchange were similar to estimates from eddy flux observations alone provided that it used a novel routine for deriving night-time carbon fluxes. Estimates of net ecosystem exchange derived in the present work were, however, substantially lower than previous estimates that had been derived using a more traditional analysis of eddy flux data.


This study showed that detailed physiological modelling is a valuable technique for combining all available site information as well as further constraints based on broader scientific principles and considerations of the conservation of mass. It can thus provide a powerful constraint on the overall site carbon budget of an ecosystem.


Keywords: Carbon exchange; CenW; Eddy covariance; Insect damage; Model; Net ecosystem exchange; Photosynthesis; Soil respiration


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