AbstractContinuous and direct measurements of ecosystem carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes can improve our ability to close regional and global carbon and hydrological budgets. On this behalf, an international and multidisciplinary group of scientists (micrometeorologists, ecophysiologists and biogeochemists) assembled at La Thuile, Italy to convene a workshop on ‘Strategies for Monitoring and Modelling CO2 and Water Vapour Fluxes over Terrestrial Ecosystems’. Over the course of the week talks and discussions focused on: (i) the results from recent field studies on the annual cycle of carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes over terrestrial ecosystems; (ii) the problems and pitfalls associated with making long‐term flux measurements; (iii) alternative methods for assessing ecosystem carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes; (iv) how direct and continuous carbon dioxide and water vapour flux measurements could be used by the ecological and biogeochemical modelling communities; and (v) if, how and where to proceed with establishing a network of long‐term flux measurement sites. This report discusses the purpose of the meeting and summarizes the conclusions drawn from the discussions by the attending scientists.There was a consensus that recent advances in instrumentation and software make possible long‐term measurements of carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes over terrestrial ecosystems. At this writing, eight research teams have conducted long‐term carbon dioxide and water vapour flux experiments and more long‐term studies are anticipated. The participants advocated an experimental design that would make long‐term flux measurement valuable to a wider community of modelers, biogeochemists and ecologists. A network of carbon dioxide and water vapour flux measurement stations should include ancillary measurements of meteorological, ecological and biological variables. To assess spatial representativeness of the long term and tower‐based flux measurements, periodic aircraft‐based flux experiments and satellite‐based assessments of land cover were recommended. Occasional cuvette‐based measurements of leaf‐level carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes were endorsed to provide information on the biological control of surface fluxes. They can also provide data to parameterize ecophysiological models. Flask sampling of stable carbon isotopes was advocated to extend the flux measurements to the global scale.

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