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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Convergence of potential net ecosystem production among contrasting C-3 grasslands

Peichl, Matthias; Sonnentag, Oliver; Wohlfahrt, Georg; Flanagan, Lawrence B; Baldocchi, Dennis D; Kiely, Gerard; Galvagno, Marta; Gianelle, Damiano; Marcolla, Barbara; Piro, Casimirio; Migliavacca, Mirco; Jones, Michael B; Saunders, Matthew


Metabolic theory and body size constraints on biomass production and decomposition suggest that differences in the intrinsic potential net ecosystem production (NEPPOT) should be small among contrasting C-3 grasslands and therefore unable to explain the wide range in the annual apparent net ecosystem production (NEPAPP) reported by previous studies. We estimated NEPPOT for nine C-3 grasslands under contrasting climate and management regimes using multiyear eddy covariance data. NEPPOT converged within a narrow range, suggesting little difference in the net carbon dioxide uptake capacity among C-3 grasslands. Our results indicate a unique feature of C-3 grasslands compared with other terrestrial ecosystems and suggest a state of stability in NEPPOT due to tightly coupled production and respiration processes. Consequently, the annual NEPAPP of C-3 grasslands is primarily a function of seasonal and short-term environmental and management constraints, and therefore especially susceptible to changes in future climate patterns and associated adaptation of management practices.


Climate; ecosystem traits; eddy covariance; grassland ecosystem functioning; inter-comparison; management practices; metabolic theory

Published in

Ecology Letters
2013, Volume: 16, number: 4, pages: 502-512

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG13 Climate action

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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