iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry (2018-12-01)

Soil CO2 efflux in uneven-aged and even-aged Norway spruce stands in southern Finland

  • Kumpu A,
  • Mäkelä A,
  • Pumpanen J,
  • Saarinen J,
  • Berninger F

DOI
https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2658-011
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 705 – 712

Abstract

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Even-aged forests usually act as carbon sinks during most of their rotation. However, after clearcut they become sources of carbon for a period of several years. Applying uneven-aged forest management with selective cuttings will maintain tree cover and reduce the environmental impact on forest floor. The aim of this study was to compare the soil CO2 efflux between uneven-aged and even-aged Norway spruce stands with similar site properties, to investigate the effect of management practices on soil CO2 efflux and its possible correlation with soil environmental and chemical properties. We measured soil CO2 efflux in even- and uneven-aged Norway spruce stands (Picea abies [L.] Karst) in southern Finland during the summer of 2013 using closed chamber method on fixed measuring points. The study included two uneven-aged stands and two even-aged stands (a clearcut site and a mature even-aged stand). Soil moisture and soil temperature were measured at the same time as soil CO2 efflux. Soil cores were collected from the topsoil of each study plot to determine soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations. Mean soil CO2 efflux through the summer was highest in the clearcut plot (0.367 mg m-2 s-1) followed by the uneven-aged stands (0.298 and 0.257 mg m-2 s-1, respectively) and the smallest fluxes were measured in the mature even-aged stand (0.224 mg m-2 s-1). There was no statistically significant difference in soil CO2 efflux between the even- and uneven-aged stands of the same site fertility. Even- and uneven-aged stands did not differ significantly in soil moisture or soil temperature. Soil CO2 efflux increased steadily with soil temperature, whereas increasing soil moisture considerably increased soil CO2 efflux at lower moisture levels but only moderately at higher soil moisture levels. Soil carbon and nitrogen concentration did not differ between the study plots of the same fertility. Uneven-aged structure forestry did not prevent the increase in soil CO2 efflux after cuttings. However, the large variation in soil CO2 efflux rates within the uneven-aged stands suggests that the stand level CO2 efflux can be controlled with the intensity of the cutting.

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