Carbon accumulation in forests has been attributed to historical changes in land use and the enhancement of tree growth by CO2 fertilization, N deposition, and climate change. The relative contribution of land use and growth enhancement is estimated by using inventory data from five states spanning a latitudinal gradient in the eastern United States. Land use is the dominant factor governing the rate of carbon accumulation in these states, with growth enhancement contributing far less than previously reported. The estimated fraction of aboveground net ecosystem production due to growth enhancement is 2.0 ± 4.4%, with the remainder due to land use.
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