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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Effects of multiple interacting disturbances and salvage logging on forest carbon stocks

Authors:

John Bradford

Shawn Fraver

Amy Milo

Anthony D'Amato

Brian Palik

Douglas Shinneman

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2012
Secondary Title:
Forest Ecology and Management
ISSN:
03781127
DOI:
10.1016/j.foreco.2011.12.010
Pages:
209-214
Volume:
267
Year:
2012
Date:
3/2012

Abstract

Climate change is anticipated to increase the frequency of disturbances, potentially impacting carbon stocks in terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about the implications of either multiple disturbances or post-disturbance forest management activities on ecosystem carbon stocks. This study quantified how forest carbon stocks responded to stand-replacing blowdown and wildfire, both individually and in combination with and without post-disturbance salvage operations, in a sub-boreal jack pine ecosystem. Individually, blowdown or fire caused similar decreases in live carbon and total ecosystem carbon. However, whereas blowdown increased carbon in down woody material and forest floor, fire increased carbon in standing snags, a difference that may have consequences for long-term carbon cycling patterns. Fire after the blowdown caused substantial additional reduction in ecosystem carbon stocks, suggesting that potential increases in multiple disturbance events may represent a challenge for sustaining ecosystem carbon stocks. Salvage logging, as examined here, decreased carbon stored in snags and down woody material but had no significant effect on total ecosystem carbon stocks.