Precipitation as driver of carbon fluxes in 11 African ecosystems - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Biogeosciences Discussions Year : 2008

Precipitation as driver of carbon fluxes in 11 African ecosystems

Nicolas Boulain
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B. Cappelaere
Eric Ceschia
J. Lloyd
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Éric Mougin
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David Ramier
Franck Timouk
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W. L. Kutsch
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  • PersonId : 851258


This study reports carbon and water fluxes between the land surface and atmosphere in eleven different ecosystems types in Sub-Saharan Africa, as measured using eddy covariance (EC) technology in the first two years of the CarboAfrica network operation. The ecosystems for which data were available ranged in mean annual rainfall from 320mm (Sudan) to 1150mm (The Republic of Congo) and include a spectrum of vegetation types (or land cover) (open savannas, woodlands, croplands and grasslands). Given the shortness of the record, the EC data were analysed across the network rather than longitudinally at sites, in order to understand the driving factors for ecosystem respiration and carbon assimilation, and to reveal the different water use strategies in these highly seasonal environments. Values for maximum net carbon assimilation rates (photosynthesis) ranged from 12 μmolCO2 m−2 s−1 in a dry, open Acacia savanna (C3-plants) up to 40 μmolCO2 m−2 s−1 for a tropical moist grassland. Maximum carbon assimilation rates were highly correlated with mean annual rainfall (R2=0.89). Maximum photosynthetic uptake rates were positively related to satellite-derived fAPAR. Ecosystem respiration was dependent on temperature at all sites, and was additionally dependent on soil water content at sites receiving less than 1000mm of rain per year. All included ecosystems, except the Congolese grassland, showed a strong decrease in 30-min assimilation rates with increasing water vapour pressure deficit above 2.0 kPa.


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ird-00392102 , version 1 (05-06-2009)



L. Merbold, J. Ardo, A. Arneth, R.J. Scholes, Yann Nouvellon, et al.. Precipitation as driver of carbon fluxes in 11 African ecosystems. Biogeosciences Discussions, 2008, 5 (6), pp.4071-4105. ⟨10.5194/bg-6-1027-2009⟩. ⟨ird-00392102⟩
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