Carbon Stocks in Vegetation and Soils of Different Biomes

The stocks of carbon in different biomes and the carbon flow pathways are depicted in Fig. 2.2. It can be observed that forest biome dominates the carbon stocks and has more carbon than the total carbon stock in the atmosphere. The emissions of CO2 follow a number of pathways (respiration, decomposition and combustion), and in addition carbon sequestration occurs in forests, grasslands and croplands.

Globally, out of the total 151 million square kilometres of terrestrial ecosystem area, forests account for approximately 27%, followed by tropical savannas and grasslands, which together account for about 23% and croplands, about 10% (Table 2.2). At the global level, the quantity of carbon stored in the terrestrial ecosystem is estimated at 2,477 GtC; soil accounts for approximately 81% of it and vegetation accounts for the rest (Table 2.2).

Among the different biomes, only tropical forests hold as much carbon in vegetation as in soils whereas in all the other biomes soils claim a much larger share. Carbon stock in vegetation is insignificant compared to that in soils in temperate grasslands, deserts, semi-deserts, wetlands and croplands. Thus, it is

Atmospbtric CO, CtC

14ft GtC II« GtC CrupLiadi 745 UIC S-IOCtC

14ft GtC II« GtC CrupLiadi 745 UIC S-IOCtC

Computational Complexity Cartoon
Fim-*l Si'¡1 Agricultural SoiJ

Fig. 2.2 Stocks of carbon, different carbon pools and carbon flow pathways (Kauppi et al. 2001)

Table 2.2 Global carbon stocks in vegetation and top 1 m of soils (Modified from

WBGU 1998 and Watson et al. 2000.)_

Carbon stocks (GtC)

Biome Area (106 km2) Vegetation Soils Total

Table 2.2 Global carbon stocks in vegetation and top 1 m of soils (Modified from

WBGU 1998 and Watson et al. 2000.)_

Carbon stocks (GtC)

Biome Area (106 km2) Vegetation Soils Total

Tropical forests

17.6

212

216

428

Temperate forests

10.4

59

100

159

Boreal forests

13.7

88

471

559

Tropical savannas

22.5

66

264

330

Temperate grasslands

12.5

9

295

304

Deserts and semi-deserts

45.5

8

191

199

Tundra

9.5

6

121

127

Wetlands

3.5

15

225

240

Croplands

16.0

3

128

131

Total

151.2

466

2,011

2,477

(19%)

(81%)

(100%)

important to focus on methods for estimation of soil carbon pools in grasslands, savannas and croplands, whereas methods that cover vegetation as well as soil carbon are required to estimate carbon in forests and agroforestry systems.

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