Whether the fraction of total forest biomass distributed in roots, stems, or leaves varies systematically across geographic gradients remains unknown despite its importance for understanding forest ecology and modeling global carbon cycles. It has been hypothesized that plants should maintain proportionally more biomass in the organ that acquires the most limiting resource. Accordingly, we hypothesize greater biomass distribution in roots and less in stems and foliage in increasingly arid climates and in colder environments at high latitudes. Such a strategy would increase uptake of soil water in dry conditions and of soil nutrients in cold soils, where they are at low supply and are less mobile. We use a large global biomass dataset (>6,200 forests from 61 countries, across a 40 °C gradient in mean annual temperature) to address these questions. Climate metrics involving temperature were better predictors of biomass partitioning than those involving moisture availability, because, surprisingly, fractional distribution of biomass to roots or foliage was unrelated to aridity. In contrast, in increasingly cold climates, the proportion of total forest biomass in roots was greater and in foliage was smaller for both angiosperm and gymnosperm forests. These findings support hypotheses about adaptive strategies of forest trees to temperature and provide biogeographically explicit relationships to improve ecosystem and earth system models. They also will allow, for the first time to our knowledge, representations of root carbon pools that consider biogeographic differences, which are useful for quantifying whole-ecosystem carbon stocks and cycles and for assessing the impact of climate change on forest carbon dynamics.
Humans receive multiple benefits from various landscapes that foster ecological services and aesthetic attractiveness. In this study, a hybrid framework was proposed to evaluate ecological and aesthetic values of five landscape types in Houguanhu Region of central China. Data from the public aesthetic survey and professional ecological assessment were converted into a two-dimensional coordinate system and distribution maps of landscape values. Results showed that natural landscapes (i.e. water body and forest) contributed positively more to both aesthetic and ecological values than semi-natural and human-dominated landscapes (i.e. farmland and non-ecological land). The distribution maps of landscape values indicated that the aesthetic, ecological and integrated landscape values were significantly associated with landscape attributes and human activity intensity. To combine aesthetic preferences with ecological services, the methods (i.e. field survey, landscape value coefficients, normalized method, a two-dimensional coordinate system, and landscape value distribution maps) were employed in landscape assessment. Our results could facilitate to identify the underlying structure-function-value chain, and also improve the understanding of multiple functions in landscape planning. The situation context could also be emphasized to bring ecological and aesthetic goals into better alignment.
Biomass conversion factors (BCFs, defined as the ratios of tree components (i.e. stem, branch, foliage and root), as well as aboveground and whole biomass of trees to growing stock volume, Mg m-3) are considered as important parameters in large-scale forest biomass carbon estimation. To date, knowledge of possible sources of the variation in BCFs is still limited at large scales. Using our compiled forest biomass dataset of China, we presented forest type-specific values of BCFs, and examined the variation in BCFs in relation to forest type, stand development and environmental factors (climate and soil fertility). BCFs exhibited remarkable variation across forest types, and also were significantly related to stand development (especially growing stock volume). BCFs (except Stem BCF) had significant relationships with mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP) (P<0.001). Climatic data (MAT and MAP) collectively explained 10.0-25.0% of the variation in BCFs (except Stem BCFs). Moreover, stronger climatic effects were found on BCFs for functional components (i.e. branch, foliage and root) than BCFs for combined components (i.e. aboveground section and whole trees). A general trend for BCFs was observed to decrease and then increase from low to high soil fertility. When qualitative soil fertility and climatic data (MAT and MAP) were combined, they explained 14.1-29.7% of the variation in in BCFs (except Stem BCFs), adding only 4.1-4.9% than climatic data used. Therefore, to reduce the uncertainty induced by BCFs in forest carbon estimates, we should apply values of BCFs for a specified forest type, and also consider climatic and edaphic effects, especially climatic effect, in developing predictive models of BCFs (except Stem BCF).
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