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Climate and Land Use Change Research and Development Program

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Project Site

Spatial Ecology Lab

National Soil Carbon Network

Permafrost Carbon Network

Select Bibliography:

Harden, J.W., K.L. Manies, J. O’Donnell, K. Johnson, S. Frolking, Z. Fan. 2012. Spatioemporal analysis of black spruce forest soils and implications for the fate of C. Journal of Geophysical Research.

Mackelprang, R., M.P. Waldrop, K. DeAngelis, K. Chavarria, S. Blazewicz, E. Rubin, and J. Jansson. 2011. Deep metagenome sequencing illuminates permafrost response to thaw.Nature 480:10.1038/nature10576

McGuire, A. D., et al. 2010, An analysis of the carbon balance of the Arctic Basin form 1997 to 2006, Tellus, 62, 455-474.

Fate of Carbon in Soil Systems

Top-down thaw and impacts on C losses from the soil profile. Modified from Striegl et al, 2005
Top-down thaw and impacts on C losses from the soil
profile. Modified from Striegl et al, 2005
This project will quantitatively define the controls and vulnerabilities of terrestrial carbon using studies of soil using both long term and recent perspectives. Over half of the flux and stock of actively cycling terrestrial organic carbon is derived from soil. Therefore, the fate of terrestrial carbon (and the potential to sequester or emit CO2) is determined largely by the soil processes through hydrologic, sedimentation, and biological interactions. This project establishes the carbon mass balance for selected landscapes including a variety of landscapes such as permafrost, peatland, alluvial fan, and river terrace landscapes and disturbance regimes such as fire, erosion, and permafrost thaw. Using a combination of landscape, experiment, and modeling approaches, our goal is to establish both conceptual and quantitative constructs that specifically address how terrestrial carbon is stabilized and destabilized over a variety of timescales and spatial scales.

Why is this research important?

Research and Development prioritizes Carbon Cycling and understanding the processes that impact carbon flux. Northern latitudes are especially important for investigations of carbon because of the very large stocks and the impending vulnerability of soil carbon stocks to the rapid "extreme event" of warming in these regions.

In all latitudes, soils are key to carbon cycling because they store a vast amount of the terrestrial carbon. Yet soils are difficult to study because of historic land use and because they are changing in ways that are difficult to monitor over vast areas.

We collaborate with national and international scientists, science entities, agencies, and networks to disseminate data and information to diverse entities.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Harden, Alaska Science Center

Project Team: Mark Waldrop, Kristen Manies, A. Dave McGuire

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