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CO2-fertilization and potential future terrestrial carbon uptake in India

Bala, Govindasamy and Gopalakrishnan, Ranjith and Jayaraman, Mathangi and Nemani, Ramakrishna and Ravindranath, NH (2011) CO2-fertilization and potential future terrestrial carbon uptake in India. In: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 16 (2, Sp.). pp. 143-160.

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There is huge knowledge gap in our understanding of many terrestrial carbon cycle processes. In this paper, we investigate the bounds on terrestrial carbon uptake over India that arises solely due to CO (2) -fertilization. For this purpose, we use a terrestrial carbon cycle model and consider two extreme scenarios: unlimited CO2-fertilization is allowed for the terrestrial vegetation with CO2 concentration level at 735 ppm in one case, and CO2-fertilization is capped at year 1975 levels for another simulation. Our simulations show that, under equilibrium conditions, modeled carbon stocks in natural potential vegetation increase by 17 Gt-C with unlimited fertilization for CO2 levels and climate change corresponding to the end of 21st century but they decline by 5.5 Gt-C if fertilization is limited at 1975 levels of CO2 concentration. The carbon stock changes are dominated by forests. The area covered by natural potential forests increases by about 36% in the unlimited fertilization case but decreases by 15% in the fertilization-capped case. Thus, the assumption regarding CO2-fertilization has the potential to alter the sign of terrestrial carbon uptake over India. Our model simulations also imply that the maximum potential terrestrial sequestration over India, under equilibrium conditions and best case scenario of unlimited CO2-fertilization, is only 18% of the 21st century SRES A2 scenarios emissions from India. The limited uptake potential of the natural potential vegetation suggests that reduction of CO2 emissions and afforestation programs should be top priorities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Publisher: Springer
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Keywords: Carbon sequestration; Climate change; CO2 fertilization; Forests; Potential vegetation; Terrestrial carbon cycle model
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 09:24
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 09:24
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/35799

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