Soil carbon stocks in a Sitka spruce chronosequence following afforestation.

  • Brian Reidy
  • Thomas Bolger School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.
Keywords: Carbon, forest, soil microbial biomass, density fractionation.

Abstract

Increasing concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are leading to concern worldwide due to their contribution to the greenhouse effect. As the body of evidence supporting the need for change from a carbon rich economy/society becomes stronger, international mitigation agreements require high quality and precise information. Following the Kyoto Protocol and EU agreements to reduce carbon production, countries could utilise default values or comparable international data to calculate their carbon budgets. Initially, approximations were successful for generating a guide to a national carbon stock for reporting GHG inventories to the UNFCCC (Tier 1 ). However, now that the second phase of the Kyoto protocol is running until 2020, greater accuracy is essential and, where possible, nationally specific information is increasingly required (Tier 3, UNFCCC). Forestry and forest soils are seen as a key component in the carbon cycle and depending on their management, can mitigate or contribute to GHG emissions. Litter and soil organic matter (SOM) are two of the major carbon pools required for reporting under LULUCF. In this study, stocks of SOM and litter were recorded along a chronosequence of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) on wet mineral gley soil. Over a 47-year period, the rate of soil carbon sequestration was found to be 1.83 t C ha−1 yr−1 . Soil microbial biomass was used to estimate highly active SOM. The mineral soils were also fractionated in a density separation procedure to identify light and heavy SOM pools. These estimates can now be used to model carbon budgets of this most common soil type currently under forestry in Ireland.
Published
2013-11-01
How to Cite
Reidy, B., & Bolger, T. (2013). Soil carbon stocks in a Sitka spruce chronosequence following afforestation. Irish Forestry, 200-219. Retrieved from https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/10110
Section
Articles