Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » SWRC » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348571

Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Country-level net primary production distribution and response to drought and land cover change

Author
item Peng, D. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Zhang, B. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Wu, C. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Huete, A.r. - University Of Technology Sydney
item Gonsamo, A. - University Of Toronto
item Lei, L. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Ponce Campos, Guillermo
item Liu, X. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Wu, Y. - Chinese Academy Of Sciences

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2016
Publication Date: 1/1/2017
Citation: Peng, D., Zhang, B., Wu, C., Huete, A., Gonsamo, A., Lei, L., Ponce Campos, G.E., Liu, X., Wu, Y. 2017. Country-level net primary production distribution and response to drought and land cover change. Science of the Total Environment. 574:65-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.033.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.033

Interpretive Summary: In this research, a global scale analysis of Net Primary Productivity was assessed from 2000 to 2014 at the country level to quantify the response to drought and land cover change. Results show that for the period of time of this study the combined NPP for 53 countries represents more than 90% of the global NPP with a major concentration in Africa within those increasing trends on NPP countries. In those countries with decreasing trend, approximately 37% was caused by drought and a 55% due to water availability while land cover change accounted for 20% of NPP variability.

Technical Abstract: Carbon sequestration by terrestrial ecosystems can offset emissions and thereby offers an alternative way of achieving the target of reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Net primary production (NPP) is the first step in the sequestration of carbon by terrestrial ecosystems. This study quantifies moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) NPP from 2000 to 2014 at the country level along with its response to drought and land cover change. Our results indicate that the combined NPP for 53 countries represents > 90% of global NPP. From 2000 to 2014, 29 of these 53 countries had increasing NPP trends, most notably the Central African Republic (23 gC/m2/y). The top three and top 12 countries accounted for 30% and 60% of total global NPP, respectively, whereas the mean national NPP per unit area in the countries with the 12 lowest values was only around ~ 300 g C/m2/y - the exception to this was Brazil, which had an NPP of 850 g C/m2/y. Large areas of Russia, Argentina, Peru and several countries in southeast Asia showed a marked decrease in NPP (~ 15 g C/m2/y). About 37% of the NPP decrease was caused by drought while ~ 55% of NPP variability was attributed to changes in water availability. Land cover change explained about 20% of the NPP variability. Our findings support the idea that government policies should aim primarily to improve water management in drought-afflicted countries; land use/land cover change policy could also be used as an alternative method of increasing NPP.