The carbon balance of a six-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) ecosystem estimated by different methods
Publication date: 15 February 2019
Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 433
Author(s): Veiko Uri, Mai Kukumägi, Jürgen Aosaar, Mats Varik, Hardo Becker, Kristiina Aun, Alisa Krasnova, Gunnar Morozov, Ivika Ostonen, Ülo Mander, Krista Lõhmus, Katrin Rosenvald, Kaie Kriiska, Kaido Soosaar
Clear-cutting is a conventional method of forest management which significantly changes carbon (C) cycling at the ecosystem level for a long time. Estimation of the interim period during which the ecosystem turns from a C source to a C sink is crucial for clarifying the environmental effects of management on forest C cycling. The current study provided new knowledge of C cycling in young pine stand and demonstrated the recovery of C sequestration of the forest ecosystem during the post harvesting period.
We estimated the C balance in a 6-year-old Scots pine stand by using two different methods: carbon budgeting, for estimating annual net ecosystem production (NEP), and eddy covariance (EC), for estimating net ecosystem exchange (NEE). For C budgeting, the above- and belowground biomass production of the ecosystem, as well as the soil heterotrophic respiration efflux at the studied site was estimated.
Annual NEE at the studied young forest ecosystem was 1.19 ± 0.36 t C ha−1, gross primary ecosystem production was 9.87 and total ecosystem respiration was 11.06 t C ha−1. Estimated NEE was in good accordance with the results of NEP (1.37 t C ha−1), which confirms the relevance of the C budgeting method.
Increased annual woody biomass production is the main factor which induced the young Scots pine ecosystem to act as a C sink: annual C accumulation in tree biomass in a 6-year-old stand was 1.0 t C ha−1 but reached already 2.4 t C ha−1 in the following year. Assuming that the annual Rh flux is of the same magnitude in the subsequent years, the ecosystem will become a C sink already during a short period after clear-cut. Annual soil respiration (Rs) and heterotrophic soil respiration (Rh) were 6.0 and 4.2 t C ha−1, respectively and the Rh/Rs ratio was 0.70. However, at this stage also the understorey vegetation contributed essentially to NEP, making up 56% of the annual C uptake accumulated in the plants. The methane flux and the leached C flux were negligible, 0.004 and 0.015 t C ha−1 yr−1, respectively. Our results demonstrate that well regenerated young Scots pine stand on a former clear-cut area will be able to turn into a C sequestering ecosystem already before ten years after cutting.
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