Natural Resources, School of



Jianyang Xia, University of OklahomaFollow
Shuli Niu, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchFollow
Philippe Ciais, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement
Ivan A. Janssens, University of Antwerpen
Jiquan Chen, Michigan State UniversityFollow
Christof Ammann, Federal Research Station Agroscope
Altaf Arain, McMaster University
Peter D. Blanken, University of ColoradoFollow
Alessandro Cescatti, Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Damien Bonal, Université de Lorraine
Nina Buchmann, Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Peter S. Curtis, Ohio State UniversityFollow
Shiping Chen, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Jinwei Dong, University of Oklahoma
Lawrence B. Flanagan, University of Lethbridge
Christian Frankenberg, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Teodoro Georgiadis, Institute of Biometeorology
Christopher M. Gough, Virginia Commonwealth University
Dafeng Hui, Tennessee State University
Gerard Kiely, University College Cork
Jianwei Li, Tennessee State University
Magnus Lund, Aarhus University
Vincenzo Magliulo, Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forest Systems
Barbara Marcolla, Fondazione Edmund Mach
Lutz Merbold, Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Leonardo Montagnani, Free University of Bolzano
Eddy J. Moors, Wageningen University and Research Centre
Jorgen E. Olesen, Aarhus University
Shilong Piao, Peking University
Antonio Raschi, Institute of Biometeorology
Oliver Roupsard, Tropical Agricultural Centre for Research and High Education
Andrew E. Suyker, University of Nebraska - LincolnFollow
Marek Urbaniak, Poznan University of Life Sciences
Francesco P. Vaccari, Institute of Biometeorology
Andrej Varlagin, Russian Academy of Sciences
Timo Vesala, University of Helsinki
Matthew Wilkinson, Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change
Ensheng Weng, Princeton University
Georg Wohlfahrt, University of Innsbruck
Liming Yan, Fudan University
Yiqi Luo, Tsinghua UniversityFollow

Date of this Version



PNAS, March 3, 2015, vol. 112, no. 9, pp. 2788–2793.


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Terrestrial gross primary productivity (GPP) varies greatly over time and space. A better understanding of this variability is necessary for more accurate predictions of the future climate–carbon cycle feedback. Recent studies have suggested that variability in GPP is driven by a broad range of biotic and abiotic factors operating mainly through changes in vegetation phenology and physiological processes. However, it is still unclear how plant phenology and physiology can be integrated to explain the spatiotemporal variability of terrestrial GPP. Based on analyses of eddy–covariance and satellite-derived data, we decomposed annual terrestrial GPP into the length of the CO2 uptake period (CUP) and the seasonal maximal capacity of CO2 uptake (GPPmax). The product of CUP and GPPmax explained >90% of the temporal GPP variability in most areas of North America during 2000–2010 and the spatial GPP variation among globally distributed eddy flux tower sites. It also explained GPP response to the European heatwave in 2003 (r2 = 0.90) and GPP recovery after a fire disturbance in South Dakota (r2 = 0.88). Additional analysis of the eddy–covariance flux data shows that the interbiome variation in annual GPP is better explained by that in GPPmax than CUP. These findings indicate that terrestrial GPP is jointly controlled by ecosystem-level plant phenology and photosynthetic capacity, and greater understanding of GPPmax and CUP responses to environmental and biological variations will, thus, improve predictions of GPP over time and space.