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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Leveraging research infrastructure co-location to evaluate constraints on terrestrial carbon cycling in northern European forests

Futter, Martyn N.; Dirnboeck, Thomas; Forsius, Martin; Back, Jaana K.; Cools, Nathalie; Diaz-Pines, Eugenio; Dick, Jan; Gaube, Veronika; Gillespie, Lauren M.; Hogbom, Lars; Laudon, Hjalmar; Mirtl, Michael; Nikolaidis, Nikolaos; Poppe Teran, Christian; Skiba, Ute; Vereecken, Harry; Villock, Holger; Weldon, James; Wohner, Christoph; Alam, Syed Ashraful


Integrated long-term, in-situ observations are needed to document ongoing environmental change, to "ground-truth" remote sensing and model outputs and to predict future Earth system behaviour. The scientific and societal value of in-situ observations increases with site representativeness, temporal duration, number of parameters measured and comparability within and across sites. Research Infrastructures (RIs) can support harmonised, cross-site data collection, curation and publication. Integrating RI networks through site co-location and standardised observation methods can help answers three questions about the terrestrial carbon sink: (i) What are present and future carbon sequestration rates in northern European forests? (ii) How are these rates controlled? (iii) Why do the observed patterns exist? Here, we present a conceptual model for RI co-location and highlight potential insights into the terrestrial carbon sink achievable when long-term in-situ Earth observation sites participate in multiple RI networks (e.g., ICOS and eLTER). Finally, we offer recommendations to promote RI co-location.


Carbon: co-location; eLTER; Forest; Research infrastructure

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2023, Volume: 52, number: 11, pages: 1819 - 1831
Publisher: SPRINGER