Carbon Flux Research

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Our research team from Northern Arizona University is investigating impacts of ecosystem disturbances and forest management activities on fluxes of CO2, water, and CH4 in forests dominated by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), the most widely distributed pine in western North America.


Our research is unique in establishing flux tower sites in forests recently exposed to stand-replacing wildfire and restoration, fuel reduction treatments that represent regionally distributed processes affecting landscape-scale carbon flux. We are using 3 sites:

  1. Control: Unmanaged (C)
  2. Restored: Thinned + prescribed-burned (R)
  3. Wildfire: Burned ponderosa pine forests (W)

Research questions

The project is addressing the following questions:

  • How do stand-replacing wildfire and forest restoration treatments influence fluxes of  CO2, water, and CH4?
  • How do major components of  CO2  flux differ among unmanaged, restored, and wildfire-burned forests?
  • How does annual net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of  CO2  estimated with the eddy covariance approach compare with net ecosystem production (NEP) of carbon estimated with the biomass inventory approach?
  • How are fluxes of  CO2, water, and  CH4 influenced by intra- and inter-annual variation in a region with a highly variable climate?


This project has been funded by:

  • North American Carbon Program
  • USDA/AFRI National Research Initiative
  • National Science Foundation, Major Research Instrument Program
  • Mission Research Program, School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University
  • (McIntire-Stennis/AZ Bureau of Forestry)
  • Arizona Water Institute
  • Science Foundation Arizona