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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Soil carbon fluxes and stocks in a Great Lakes forest chronosequence

Authors:

JIANWU TANG

Paul Bolstad

JONATHAN MARTIN

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2009
Secondary Title:
Global Change Biology
Pages:
145-155
Volume:
15
Year:
2009
Date:
01/2009

Abstract

We measured soil respiration and soil carbon stocks, as well as micrometeorological variables in a chronosequence of deciduous forests in Wisconsin and Michigan. The chronosequence consisted of (1) four recently disturbed stands, including a clearcut and repeatedly burned stand (burn), a blowdown and partial salvage stand (blowdown), a clearcut with sparse residual overstory (residual), and a regenerated stand from a complete clearcut (regenerated); (2) four young aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands in average age of 10 years; (3) four intermediate aspen stands in average age of 26 years; (4) four mature northern hardwood stands in average age of 73 years; and (5) an old-growth stand approximately 350-years old. We fitted site-based models and used continuous measurements of soil temperature to estimate cumulative soil respiration for the growing season of 2005 (days 133-295). Cumulative soil respiration in the growing season was estimated to be 513, 680, 747, 747, 794, 802, 690, and 571 g C m(-2) in the burn, blowdown, residual, regenerated, young, intermediate, mature, and old-growth stands, respectively. The measured apparent temperature sensitivity of soil respiration was the highest in the regenerated stand, and declined from the young stands to the old-growth. Both, cumulative soil respiration and basal soil respiration at 10 degrees C, increased during stand establishment, peaked at intermediate age, and then decreased with age. Total soil carbon at 0-60 cm initially decreased after harvest, and increased after stands established. The old-growth stand accumulated carbon in deep layers of soils, but not in the surface soils. Our study suggests a complexity of long-term soil carbon dynamics, both in vertical depth and temporal scale.