Over the last 5 or so years, there have been significant advances in the understanding of the current rôle of the terrestrial biosphere in the global carbon cycle, especially in terms of how pools and fluxes are affected by variations in climate (including interannual variability as well as longer-term climate change), increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and changed rates of atmospheric nitrogen deposition. At the same time, significant advances have been made in terms of both direct measurement of ecosystem productivity and in an understanding of the key underlying mechanisms modulating carbon fluxes from terrestrial systems. A brief synopsis of these advances is the subject of this paper.
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