A Treasure in the Desert? Carbon Stock Estimates for Haloxylon aphyllum in the Northeastern Karakum Desert
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Among the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems, deserts and other dryland ecosystems are the least productive and thus exhibit the lowest vegetation carbon densities, or mass of carbon per area [t C ha-1] (for example, Cao and Woodward, 1998; Townsend et al., 2008). Despite their low carbon densities, dryland ecosystems may contribute significantly to global carbon stocks as they cover an area of approximately 28.1 million square kilometers (10.8 million square miles) and thus represent the largest of all terrestrial biomes (Trumper et al., 2009; Epple, 2012). However, detailed studies of the contribution of particular desert ecosystem components to global carbon stocks are rarely available (Cao and Woodward, 1998; Lal, 2002; Trumper et al., 2008, 2009; Epple, 2012).
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