Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute; Ministery Of Infrastructure And The Environment

Publications, presentations and other activities
Carbon Drought
by M.K. van der Molen (VU), B.J.J.M. van den Hurk (KNMI),

Drought as an intermittent disturbance of the water cycle interacts in a different way with the carbon cycle than the ‘average’ climate change. During drought plants do, or do not, respond physiologically and structurally to prevent excessive water loss according to species specific water use strategies. This has consequences for carbon uptake by photosynthesis and release by total ecosystem respiration. After the drought the disturbances in the reservoirs of moisture, organic matter and nutrients in the soil and carbohydrates in plants lead to longer-term effects in plant carbon cycling, and potentially mortality. Direct and carry-over effects, mortality and consequently species competition in response to drought are strongly related to the survival strategies of species. Here we review the state of the art of the understanding of carbon drought interactions and argue that plant strategies must be given an adequate role in global vegetation models if the effects of drought on the terrestrial carbon cycle are to be described in a way that justifies the interacting processes.

Bibliographic data
Molen, M.K. van der and B.J.J.M. van den Hurk, Carbon Drought Abstract (html)