J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (5): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00264.x

• Research Articles •    

Soil Carbon Changes Following Afforestation with Olga Bay Larch (Larix olgensis Henry) in Northeastern China

Chun-Mei Wang, Hua Ouyang, Bin Shao, Yu-Qiang Tian, Jing-Gang Zhao and Huai-Yan Xu   

Abstract: After converting cropland to forest, carbon is sequestered in the aggrading biomass of the new forests, but the question remains, to what extent will the former arable soil contribute as a sink for CO2? Quantifying changes in soil carbon is an important consideration in the large-scale conversion of cropland to forest. Extensive field studies were undertaken to identify a number of suitable sites for comparison of soil properties under pasture and forest. The present paper describes results from a study of the effects of first rotation larch on soil carbon in seven stands in an afforestation chronosequence compared with adjacent Korean pine, pasture, and cropland. An adjacent 250-year-old natural forest was included to give information on the possible long-term changes in soil carbon in northeast China in 2004. Soil carbon initially decreased during the first 12 yr before a gradual recovery and accumulation of soil carbon occurred. The initial (0–12 yr) decrease in soil carbon was an average 1.2% per year among case studies, whereas the increase in soil carbon (12–33 yr) was 1.90% per year. Together with the carbon sequestration of forest floors, this led to total soil carbon stores of approximately 101.83 Mg/hm2 over the 33-year chronosequence. Within the relatively short time span, carbon sequestration occurred mainly in tree biomass, whereas soil carbon stores were clearly higher in the 250-year-old plantation (184 Mg/hm2). The ongoing redistribution of mineral soil carbon in the young stands and the higher soil carbon contents in the 250-year-old afforested stand suggest that nutrient-rich afforestation soils may become greater sinks for carbon (C) in the long term.(Author for correspondence.Tel: +86 (0)10 6488 9697; Fax: +86 (0)10 6485 1844; E-mail:ohua@igsnrr.ac.cn)

Key words: afforestation, carbon sequestration, China, forest litter, mineral soil, Olga Bay larch.

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