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Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of mesic savannas in the Northern Territory, Australia: approaches, uncertainties and potential impacts of fire

Williams, Richard J., Hutley, Lindsay B., Cook, Garry D., Russell-Smith, Jeremy, Edwards, Andrew C. and Chen, Xiaoyong (2004). Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of mesic savannas in the Northern Territory, Australia: approaches, uncertainties and potential impacts of fire. Functional Plant Biology,31(5):415-422.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 45 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of mesic savannas in the Northern Territory, Australia: approaches, uncertainties and potential impacts of fire
Author Williams, Richard J.
Hutley, Lindsay B.
Cook, Garry D.
Russell-Smith, Jeremy
Edwards, Andrew C.
Chen, Xiaoyong
Journal Name Functional Plant Biology
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 31
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1445-4408   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-3042779059
Start Page 415
End Page 422
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication Canberra, ACT, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Field of Research 0502 - Environmental Science and Management
0607 - Plant Biology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Tropical savannas cover a quarter of the Australian landmass and the biome represents a significant potential carbon sink. However, these savannas are subject to frequent and extensive fire. Fire regimes are likely to affect the productivity and carbon sequestration potential of savannas, through effects on both biomass and carbon emissions. The carbon sequestration potential has been estimated for some savanna sites by quantifying carbon storage in biomass and soil pools, and the fluxes to these pools. Using different techniques, previous work in these savannas has indicated that net ecosystem productivity [NEP, net primary productivity (NPP) less heterotrophic respiration] was about –3 t C ha–1 y–1 (i.e. a carbon sink). However, the impacts of fire were not accounted for in these calculations. Estimates of NEP have been combined with remotely-sensed estimates of area burnt and associated emissions for an extensive area of mesic savanna in Arnhem Land, NT, Australia. Combining NEP estimates with precise fire data provides an estimate of net biome productivity (NBP), a production index that includes carbon loss through disturbance (fire), and is thus a more realistic indicator of sequestration rate from this biome. This preliminary analysis suggests that NBP is approximately –1 t C ha–1 y–1 (i.e. a carbon sink). A reduction in the annual area burnt is likely to increase the sink size. Uncertainties surrounding these estimates of NBP and the implications of these uncertainties for land management in these extensive landscapes are discussed.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP03215   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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