A model to estimate carbon dioxide recycling in forests using 13C 12C ratios and concentrations of ambient carbon dioxide

Leonel Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Carbon dioxide from respiration of forest litter can be dissipated in two ways; photosynthesis and turbulent mixing with the atmosphere. Because there is a discrimination against 13CO2 associated with photosynthesis and none for turbulent mixing, different relationships between carbon isotope ratios and concentrations of ambient forest carbon dioxide will occur, depending on which process is responsible for the dissipation of carbon dioxide. A steady-state model predicting the relationship between ambient forest CO2 concentrations and δ13C values as a function of the proportion of respired CO2 reabsorbed by photosynthesis is presented here. Comparisons of the predictions of this model with data collected in a tropical moist forest in Barro Colorado Island (Republic of Panama) show that about 7-8% of the respired carbon dioxide is recycled via photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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