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Xu, Liang; Saatchi, Sassan S.; Yang, Yan; Yu, Yifan; Pongratz, Julia; Bloom, A. Anthony; Bowman, Kevin; Worden, John; Liu, Junjie; Yin, Yi; Domke, Grant; McRoberts, Ronald E.; Woodall, Christopher; Nabuurs, Gert-Jan; De-Miguel, Sergio; Keller, Michael; Harris, Nancy; Maxwell, Sean and Schimel, David L. (2021): Changes in global terrestrial live biomass over the 21st century. In: Science Advances, Vol. 7, No. 27, eabe9829

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Abstract

Live woody vegetation is the largest reservoir of biomass carbon, with its restoration considered one of the most effective natural climate solutions. However, terrestrial carbon fluxes remain the largest uncertainty in the global carbon cycle. Here, we develop spatially explicit estimates of carbon stock changes of live woody biomass from 2000 to 2019 using measurements from ground, air, and space. We show that live biomass has removed 4.9 to 5.5 PgC year(-1) from the atmosphere, offsetting 4.6 +/- 0.1 PgC year(-1) of gross emissions from disturbances and adding substantially (0.23 to 0.88 PgC year(-1)) to the global carbon stocks. Gross emissions and removals in the tropics were four times larger than temperate and boreal ecosystems combined. Although live biomass is responsible for more than 80% of gross terrestrial fluxes, soil, dead organic matter, and lateral transport may play important roles in terrestrial carbon sink.

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