Elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentration and vegetation structural changes contributed to gross primary productivity increase more than climate and forest cover changes in subtropical forests of China

Chen, Tao; Meunier, Félicien; Peaucelle, Marc; Tang, Guoping; Yuan, Ye; Verbeeck, Hans

The subtropical forests of China play a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle and in regulating the global climate. Quantifying the individual and combined effects of forest cover change (FCC), vegetation structural change (e.g. leaf area index (LAI)), inline-formulaCO2 fertilisation, and climate change (CC) on the annual gross primary productivity (GPP) dynamics of different subtropical forest types are essential for mitigating carbon emissions and predicting future climate changes, but these impacts remain unclear. In this study, we used a processed-based model to comprehensively investigate the impacts of these factors on GPP variations with a series of model experiments in China's subtropical forests from 2001 to 2018. Simulated GPP showed a significant increasing trend (20.67 inline-formula M3inlinescrollmathml unit normal g 0.125emnobreak normal C 0.125emnobreak normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimgfafc34c46f56ca47c5e6254eb4a66251 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00001.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00001.png , inline-formulap<0.001) under the interaction effects of FCC, LAI change, rising inline-formulaCO2, and CC. The inline-formulaCO2 fertilisation (6.84 inline-formula M7inlinescrollmathml unit normal g nobreak0.125em normal C 0.125emnobreak normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimgcab77a56d48532b9ed52eae29f5c86e7 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00002.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00002.png , inline-formulap<0.001) and LAI change (3.79 inline-formula M9inlinescrollmathml unit normal g nobreak0.125em normal C 0.125emnobreak normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimg4e0ced5292f7221ea1a2329b3393f257 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00003.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00003.png , inline-formulap=0.004) were the two dominant drivers of total subtropical forest GPP increase, followed by the effects of FCC (0.52 inline-formula M11inlinescrollmathml unit normal g nobreak0.125em normal C 0.125emnobreak normal m - normal 2 0.125emnobreak normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimg082d4924980fafd9b6eabd2a9ea2d97d bg-21-2253-2024-ie00004.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00004.png , inline-formulap<0.001) and CC (0.92 inline-formula M13inlinescrollmathml unit normal g nobreak0.125em normal C nobreak0.125em normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimg4aee20c84acb22509b984b37a0b870c3 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00005.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00005.png , inline-formulap=0.080). We observed different responses to drivers depending on forest types. The evergreen broad-leaved forests showed the maximum carbon sequestration rate due to the positive effects of all drivers. Both the FCC (0.19 inline-formula M15inlinescrollmathml unit normal g 0.125emnobreak normal C 0.125emnobreak normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimge0867cc4bee77bb75e3b0fe4682cd2e0 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00006.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00006.png , inline-formulap<0.05) and CC (1.22 inline-formula M17inlinescrollmathml unit normal g 0.125emnobreak normal C nobreak0.125em normal m - normal 2 nobreak0.125em normal yr - normal 1 59pt15ptsvg-formulamathimg70a264bd8aafe0242149ea996946f487 bg-21-2253-2024-ie00007.svg59pt15ptbg-21-2253-2024-ie00007.png , inline-formulap<0.05) significantly decreased evergreen needle-leaved forest GPP, while their negative effects were almost offset by the positive impact of LAI changes. Our results indicated that LAI outweighed FCC in promoting GPP, which is an essential driver that needs to be accounted for in studies and ecological and management programmes. Overall, our study offers a novel perspective on different drivers of subtropical forest GPP changes and provides valuable information for policy makers to better manage subtropical forests to mitigate climate change risks.

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Chen, Tao / Meunier, Félicien / Peaucelle, Marc / et al: Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration and vegetation structural changes contributed to gross primary productivity increase more than climate and forest cover changes in subtropical forests of China. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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