Ecosystem manipulations, including studies with elevated CO2, temperature, and water or nitrogen additions provide insights into physiological, ecological, and biogeochemical processes underlying carbon storage. Long-term monitoring of ecosystem carbon fluxes and how they vary annually and seasonally with climate and between ecosystems with different environmental conditions also provide valuable information. This information must be extrapolated to regional and global scales.

The terrestrial biosphere is heterogeneous enough that simple extrapolation of a reasonable number of experiments and measurements is not sufficient. The processes that regulate carbon storage and fluxes are uniform enough that mechanistic models can be used. Global simulations are presented to indicate how this approach may be used to quantify some of the processes involved in terrestrial carbon uptake, their global magnitude, and their spatial distribution.

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