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  1. Eddy covariance measurement systems provide direct observation of the exchange of greenhouse gases between ecosystems and the atmosphere, but have only occasionally been intentionally applied to quantify the carbon dynamics associated with specific climate mitigation strategies. Natural climate solutions (NCS) harness the photosynthetic power of ecosystems to avoid emissions and remove atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), sequestering it in biological carbon pools. In this perspective, we aim to determine which kinds of NCS strategies are most suitable for ecosystem-scale flux measurements and how these measurements should be deployed for diverse NCS scales and goals. We find that ecosystem-scale flux measurements bring unique value when assessing NCS strategies characterized by inaccessible and hard-to-observe carbon pool changes, important non-CO2 greenhouse gas fluxes, the potential for biophysical impacts, or dynamic successional changes. We propose three deployment types for ecosystem-scale flux measurements at various NCS scales to constrain wide uncertainties and chart a workable path forward: “pilot”, “upscale”, and “monitor”. Together, the integration of ecosystem-scale flux measurements by the NCS community and the prioritization of NCS measurements by the flux community, have the potential to improve accounting in ways that capture the net impacts, unintended feedbacks, and on-the-ground specifics of a wide range of emergingmore »NCS strategies.« less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The leaf economics spectrum 1,2 and the global spectrum of plant forms and functions 3 revealed fundamental axes of variation in plant traits, which represent different ecological strategies that are shaped by the evolutionary development of plant species 2 . Ecosystem functions depend on environmental conditions and the traits of species that comprise the ecological communities 4 . However, the axes of variation of ecosystem functions are largely unknown, which limits our understanding of how ecosystems respond as a whole to anthropogenic drivers, climate and environmental variability 4,5 . Here we derive a set of ecosystem functions 6 from a dataset of surface gas exchange measurements across major terrestrial biomes. We find that most of the variability within ecosystem functions (71.8%) is captured by three key axes. The first axis reflects maximum ecosystem productivity and is mostly explained by vegetation structure. The second axis reflects ecosystem water-use strategies and is jointly explained by variation in vegetation height and climate. The third axis, which represents ecosystem carbon-use efficiency, features a gradient related to aridity, and is explained primarily by variation in vegetation structure. We show that two state-of-the-art land surface models reproduce the first and most important axis of ecosystem functions.more »However, the models tend to simulate more strongly correlated functions than those observed, which limits their ability to accurately predict the full range of responses to environmental changes in carbon, water and energy cycling in terrestrial ecosystems 7,8 .« less
  3. Abstract

    Reflooding formerly drained peatlands has been proposed as a means to reduce losses of organic matter and sequester soil carbon for climate change mitigation, but a renewal of high methane emissions has been reported for these ecosystems, offsetting mitigation potential. Our ability to interpret observed methane fluxes in reflooded peatlands and make predictions about future flux trends is limited due to a lack of detailed studies of methanogenic processes. In this study we investigate methanogenesis in a reflooded agricultural peatland in the Sacramento Delta, California. We use the stable‐and radio‐carbon isotopic signatures of wetland sediment methane, ecosystem‐scale eddy covariance flux observations, and laboratory incubation experiments, to identify which carbon sources and methanogenic production pathways fuel methanogenesis and how these processes are affected by vegetation and seasonality. We found that the old peat contribution to annual methane emissions was large (~30%) compared to intact wetlands, indicating a biogeochemical legacy of drainage. However, fresh carbon and the acetoclastic pathway still accounted for the majority of methanogenesis throughout the year. Although temperature sensitivities for bulk peat methanogenesis were similar between open‐water (Q10 = 2.1) and vegetated (Q10 = 2.3) soils, methane production from both fresh and old carbon sources showed pronounced seasonality in vegetated zones. Wemore »conclude that high methane emissions in restored wetlands constitute a biogeochemical trade‐off with contemporary carbon uptake, given that methane efflux is fueled primarily by fresh carbon inputs.

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