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Long-term effects of stump harvesting and site preparation on pools and fluxes of soil carbon and nitrogen in central Sweden
- Persson, Tryggve, Lenoir, Lisette, Vegerfors, Birgitta
- Scandinavian journal of forest research 2017 v.32 no.3 pp. 222-229
- carbon, carbon dioxide, clearcutting, emissions, forest management, fossil fuels, harvesting, humus, long term effects, models, nitrogen, site preparation, slash, soil profiles, soil sampling, stumps, Scandinavia, Sweden
- Clear-cutting and subsequent site preparation is a common forest management practice in the Nordic countries. Slash and stumps have been suggested to replace fossil fuels in district heating plants. Stump/root removal from clear-cuts will reduce the amount of decomposable substrate in the soil and thus decrease soil CO ₂ emission, but stump lifting is also supposed to stimulate CO ₂ efflux and counteract CO ₂ reduction. To determine the effects of stump/root harvesting in relation to site preparation (stumps retained) on pools and fluxes of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) after a period of 20–30 years, soil sampling was performed in four pairs of stump/root harvesting (S) and patch scarification (P) stands in central Sweden in 2009. Stump/root harvesting resulted in a significantly lower soil C pool in the humus layer. Annual heterotrophic respiration (R H) in the whole soil profile was significantly lower after the S than after the P treatment, the mean difference being 38 ± 23 g CO ₂–C m ⁻² year ⁻¹ (95% CI). This difference was larger than corresponding data from stump/root decomposition models (11–18 g CO ₂–C m ⁻² year ⁻¹), but both empirical and model data showed that stump/root harvesting will reduce heterotrophic soil CO ₂ emissions to the atmosphere during the actual period.