Canadian Forest Service Publications

Post-fire carbon dioxide fluxes in the western Canadian boreal forest: evidence from towers, aircraft and remote sensing. 2003. Amiro, B.D.; MacPherson, J.I.; Desjardins, R.L.; Chen, J.M.; Liu, J. Agricultural and Forest Meterology 115: 91-107.

Year: 2003

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 21307

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

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Recent CO2 flux measurements from towers and aircraft (net ecosystem exchange by eddy covariance) and remote sensing/modeling (net primary productivity––NPP) following fire show that the regenerating boreal forest in western Canada has a low initial flux that increases with time since fire. Daytime CO2 fluxes are downward, even after 2 years following fire, although fluxes were upward during the first year after the fire. In summer, the forest is a net carbon sink a few years following fire. A regression of all data gives a relationship where the CO2 flux relative to 10 years following fire = 0.11 + 0.92 log10 (years since fire) (r2 = 0.5). The CO2 flux reaches the same rate as that of a mature site between 10 and 30 years following fire, depending on the site and the data set. Many studies in the literature indicate that soil respiration decreases following fire, although several models assume that heterotrophic respiration increases. If fire reduces respiration and our growing season measurements showing a net sink in early years are widely applicable, it is likely that some models may have overestimated the impact of fire on the carbon balance of the boreal landscape.