Global forests are complex dynamic systems that both respond to, and create physical feedbacks to, the global environment. Systematic global change imposed upon the biosphere will therefore undoubtedly cause responses in forest ecosystems, with potential consequences that cannot be predicted in detail. These consequences will almost certainly contribute to further environmental and socio-economic impacts, of which some will be deleterious for the human habitat. Among these will be major changes to global forest carbon (C) dynamics, with regional shifts in C sequestration and release, linked to gains or losses in net ecosystem productivity (NEP). It is doubtful whether global NEP would be truly zero when averaged over the planetary surface and over long time periods—even in the absence of the human species. It is therefore virtually certain that, given the current situation of accelerating anthropogenic changes, global average NEP is also undergoing significant change. Resolving the magnitude and direction of this change however, even for specific geographic regions, will continue to be a complex and challenging problem.
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David T. Price
Michael J. Apps
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg