# Through enhanced tree dynamics carbon dioxide enrichment may cause tropical forests to lose carbon

Körner, Christian. (2004) Through enhanced tree dynamics carbon dioxide enrichment may cause tropical forests to lose carbon. Philosophical transactions. Biological sciences, Vol. 359, H. 1443. pp. 493-498.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249089

The fixation and storage of C by tropical forests, which contain close to half of the globes biomass C, may be affected by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration. Classical theoretical approaches assume a uniform stimulation of photosynthesis and growth across taxa. Direct assessments of the C balance either by flux studies or by repeated forest inventories also suggest a current net uptake, although magnitudes sometimes exceed those missing required to balance the global C cycle. Reasons for such discrepancies may lie in the nature of forest dynamics and in differential responses of taxa or plant functional types. In this contribution I argue that CO2 enrichment may cause forests to become more dynamic and that faster tree turnover may in fact convert a stimulatory effect of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis and growth into a long-term net biomass C loss by favouring shorter-lived trees of lower wood density. At the least, this is a scenario that deserves inclusion into long-term projections of the C relations of tropical forests. Species and plant functional type specific responses (biodiversity effects`) and forest dynamics need to be accounted for in projections of future C storage and cycling in tropical forests.