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This project is finished.

Monitoring water and carbon cycling in African ecosystems

Whereas fluxes of CO2 and water vapor between vegetation and the atmosphere have been studied extensively throughout Europe and North America, there exists much less data from Africa. To increase our knowledge and understanding of the water and carbon cycles in African ecosystems, especially when it comes to the dependence of vegetation activity on environmental factors such as moisture availability, the department was active in the CARBOAFRICA project.

Department contributions to the international collaboration

Within the framework of this international collaboration, our department contributed by:

  • Providing eddy flux CO2 and H2O and meteorological data to the CARBOAFRICA database
  • Making measurements at a savanna site in Sudan, where we use eddy-covariance methodology to assess both energy exchange as well as the cycling of water and CO2. We also monitor canopy dynamics through the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and look at seasonal changes in grass biomass, leaf area index (LAI) and litterfall.
  • Performing carbon flux and dynamic vegetation modelling, both on regional and continental scales as well as for selected flux measurement sites. Especially in the latter case, we aim at comparing model output of ecosystem productivity and biomass growth (e.g., NEE, GPP, LAI) with observations.
  • Studying net primary production (NPP) and vegetation phenology on regional scales using remote sensing techniques.
  • Coordinating work on introducing realistic descriptions of climate-fire-vegetation dynamics at regional and continental scales into global dynamic vegetation models. Here our aim is to provide estimates of total carbon loss related to fire, including human influence on ignition patterns.
  • Providing training courses and field training in ecophysiology, carbon-water interaction and modelling, as well as contributing to the production of E-learning documents


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