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Ecosystem carbon storage

Squeezing the Arctic carbon balloon

The advancement of trees into Arctic tundra can increase total aboveground carbon storage. A study now shows, however, that greater plant growth also enhances belowground decomposition, resulting in a net loss of carbon from the ecosystem.

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Figure 1: Hartley et al.3 show that as tundra systems give way to birch forest, more ecosystem carbon is harboured in aboveground pools, at a net loss of total ecosystem carbon.


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Correspondence to Evan S. Kane.

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Kane, E. Squeezing the Arctic carbon balloon. Nature Clim Change 2, 841–842 (2012).

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