A3 Foresight Program
"Quantifying and Predicting Terrestrial Carbon Sinks in East Asia
-Toward a Network of Climate Change Research-"

Est. August 2007

Hosting institutions:


- Objectives
- Importance and Neccesity
- Features of the project
- Research topics
- Research achievements
- Seminars
- International Supporting
- Funding agencies


This project is to assess the size and spatial patterns of terrestrial carbon sinks in East Asia, to predict the changes of these sinks under changing climate, and to initiate an educational and academic network for current and future studies in ecological and environmental sciences among the East Asian countries.

Importance and Neccesity

Recent IPCC report and the Stern Review indicate that the scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response. Terrestrial ecosystems store about three times more carbon than the atmosphere and can be either an important carbon sink or source under climate changes. To mitigate the increase of atmospheric CO2, it is urgent to understand the potential of terrestrial carbon sinks.

Features of the project

(1) Emphasizing the most critical and urgent issue in climate change studies: carbon sink issue; (2) Possessing a strong basis in scientific research and educational programs by the participants from all sides; (3) Successful experiences in the long-term plot-based studies conducted so far in the three teams; (4) Large-scale inventory data-sets available for participants from the three countries; (5) Extensive and outstanding achievements in carbon research from the three teams; (6) Fruitful, collaborative studies among the participants in the last years, which should guarantee the success of this project.

Research topics

We will achieve the objectives through integration bottom-up investigation data, top-down remote sensing and climatic data, and ecological and climate models. (1) Intensive carbon-related plot-studies (2) Extensive ground-based investigation on carbon-related parameters (3) Estimation of carbon sinks based on national inventory of forests and grasslands, crop census, and soil survey (4) Regional evaluation and prediction of climate changes by focusing on terrestrial carbon sinks using ecological and climate models (5) Establishment of exchange program and educational network for researchers and graduate students in ecological and environmental sciences in the three countries

Research achievements

To be published on 'Journal of Plant Research', July 2010

  1. Kim et al. Carbon and nitrogen status of litterfall, litter decomposition and soil in even-aged larch, red pine and rigitaeda pine plantations
  2. Muraoka et al. Effects of seasonal and interannual variation in leaf photosynthesis and canopy leaf area index on canopy photosynthesis in a cool-temperate deciduous broadleaf forest in Takayama, Japan
  3. Noh et al. Influence of stand density on soil CO2 efflux for a Pinus densiflora forest in Korea
  4. Kwak et al. Estimating stem volume and biomass of Pinus koraiensis using LiDAR data
  5. Yashiro et al. Biometric based estimation of net ecosystem production (NEP) in a mature Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) plantation beneath a flux tower
  6. Dhital et al. Carbon dynamics and budget in a Zoysia japonica grassland, central Japan
  7. Saitoh et al. Carbon dioxide exchange in a cool-temperate evergreen coniferous forest over complex topography in Japan during two years with contrasting climates
  8. Park et al. Development processes and stand growth pattern of Pinus densiflora stands in central eastern Korea
  9. Ito et al. Changing ecophysiological processes and carbon budget in east Asian ecosystems under near-future changes in climate: Implications for long-term monitoring from a process-based model
  10. Lee et al. Autotrophic and heterotrophic respirations in needle fir and Quercus-dominated stands in a cool-temperate forest, central Korea
  11. Ohtsuka et al. Carbon cycling and net ecosystem production in an early stage of secondary succession in abandoned coppice forests
  12. Zhang et al. How did ecosystem carbon lose in the forest-steppe ecotone forced by climate drying : a case study in Inner Mongolia of China
  13. He et al. Taxonomic identity, phylogeny, climate and soil fertility as drivers of leaf traits across Chinese grassland biomes
  14. Ma et al. Climate change alters interannual variation of grassland aboveground productivity: evidence from a 22-year measurement in the inner mongolian grassland
  15. Fan and Jiang. Nitrogen dynamics differed among the first six root branch orders of Fraxinus mandshurica and Larix gmelinii during short-term decomposition
  16. Hirota et al. Small-scale variation in ecosystem CO2 flux in an alpine meadow depends on plant biomass and species richness
  17. Zhu et al. Altitudinal changes in carbon storage of temperate forests in Mt. Changbai, Northeast China
  18. Quan et al. Dynamics of fine roots in five Chinese temperate forests

Potential papers for further outputs (some will be published on Science China, 2010)
  1. Chen et al. Carbon storage, patterns and controls of tropical rain forest in China
  2. Choi et al. Simulating forest vegetation distribution changes using the temperature gradients . warmth index and minimum temperature of the coldest month index in Korea
  3. Fang et al. Biomass carbon stocks and budgets in Chinafs grasslands
  4. Huang et al. Organic carbon stocks in Chinafs soils: a review
  5. Kim et al. Individual tree based carbon storage estimation of Pinus densiflora stands using aerial photograph and LiDAR data
  6. Kwak et al. Estimation of effective plant area index for South-Korean forests using LiDAR data
  7. Ma et al. Changes in biomass carbon stocks in Chinafs grasslands
  8. Noh et al. Biomass, carbon and nitrogen storage in an age-sequence of Pinus densiflora stands in Korea
  9. Guo et al. Forest biomass carbon stocks and budgets (C sink/source) in China
  10. Yang and Da. Aboveground biomass and its allocation pattern in an evergreen broad-leaved forest in East China
  11. Ohtsuka et al. Carbon cycling and sequestration in a Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) forest on the lower slopes of Mt Fuji, Japan
  12. Wang et al. Topsoil organic carbon dynamics under different fertilization schemes in Chinafs croplands: an analysis with long-term agro-ecosystem experiments
  13. Wang and He. Resource allocation in different organs of plants in Chinafs grasslands
  14. Xu et al. Future changes in forest biomass carbon storage in China: a prediction based on forest age-biomass relationship
  15. Yan et al. Assessment of soil organic carbon sequestration potential in cropland: a model approach
  16. Yang et al. Aboveground biomass and its allocation pattern in an evergreen

Seminars (workshops)

  1. "For the joint research in East Asia: sharing knowledge for ecosystem carbon cycling studies", Takayama, Japan, November 2007
  2. "Upscaling from plot based carbon data to regional scale: Current status and perspecitves", Seoul, Korea, February 2008
  3. "Integrating and scaling processes for plot to landscape ecosystem study", held jointly with 21st century COE program "Satellite Ecology" at Gifu University, Gifu, Japan, August 2008
  4. "Ecological processes for carbon cycling: Temporal and spatial variations", Jinju, Korea, April 2009
  5. "Patterns and processes of land carbon cycles in East Asia", Beijing, China, November 2009
  6. "Terrestrial carbon sinks in East Asia", Seoul, Korea, April 2010

International supporting

Our proposal has been strongly supported by two international carbon projects, Terrestrial Carbon Observations panel (TCO) and Global Carbon Project (GCP). We expect that our project would become a key regional platform for future cooperation in international carbon research (see attached supporting letters from the two international projects).

Funding agencies

NSFC (China)
NRF (Korea)
JSPS (Japan)


21st Century COE program: Satellite Ecology

A3 Foresight "CarboEastAsia"







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