Soil organic carbon in Swedish spruce and pine forests – differences in stock levels and regional patterns

Johan Stendahl, Maj-Britt Johansson, Erik Eriksson, Åke Nilsson, Ola Langvall
2010 Silva Fennica  
O. 2010. Soil organic carbon in Swedish spruce and pine forests -differences in stock levels and regional patterns. Silva Fennica 44(1): 5-21. The selection of tree species is one factor to consider if we want to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere through forest management. The objectives of this study were to estimate the differences in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks under Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests and to examine
more » ... and to examine causes of differences in the accumulation of carbon in the forest soil. Large-scale inventory data was used to quantify variations in SOC stock in relation to stand type and the accumulation of carbon for spruce and pine stands was analysed by simulation. Based on field data, the national mean SOC stock was 9.2 kg m -2 in spruce dominated stands and 5.7 kg m -2 in pine dominated stands. For both species, the SOC stock, measured in the field inventory, increased significantly with increasing temperature, although at different rates. The SOC stock was larger for spruce under all temperature conditions, but the difference between species diminished with increasing temperature. The simulations indicated that the build-up of SOC over several rotations was 22% higher in spruce stands than in pine stands under similar environmental conditions. The main difference was found to be the greater input of harvest residues for spruce. Further, the simulations showed that ground vegetation contributed considerably more to the litter production under pine than under spruce. On sites where both Scots pine and Norway spruce are considered suitable, the latter should be selected if the aim of the forest management policy is to maximize the accumulation of SOC in the forest. Further, spruce is more favourable for SOC accumulation in areas with cold temperatures and on sites with low productivity.
doi:10.14214/sf.159 fatcat:ri7jtrc56ne4vgchl23kjtycva