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Patterns of NPP, GPP, respiration, and NEP during boreal forest succession

  • Author(s): Goulden, ML
  • Mcmillan, AMS
  • Winston, GC
  • Rocha, AV
  • Manies, KL
  • Harden, JW
  • Bond-Lamberty, BP
  • et al.

We combined year-round eddy covariance with biometry and biomass harvests along a chronosequence of boreal forest stands that were 1, 6, 15, 23, 40, 74, and 154 years old to understand how ecosystem production and carbon stocks change during recovery from stand-replacing crown fire. Live biomass (Clive) was low in the 1 and 6 year old stands, and increased following a logistic pattern to high levels in the 74 and 154year old stands. Carbon stocks in the forest floor (Cforest floor) and coarse woody debris (CCWD) were comparatively high in the 1year old stand, reduced in the 6 through 40year old stands, and highest in the 74 and 154year old stands. Total net primary production (TNPP) was reduced in the 1 and 6year old stands, highest in the 23 through 74year old stands and somewhat reduced in the 154year old stand. The NPP decline at the 154year old stand was related to increased autotrophic respiration rather than decreased gross primary production (GPP). Net ecosystem production (NEP), calculated by integrated eddy covariance, indicated the 1 and 6 year old stands were losing carbon, the 15year old stand was gaining a small amount of carbon, the 23 and 74year old stands were gaining considerable carbon, and the 40 and 154year old stands were gaining modest amounts of carbon. The recovery from fire was rapid; a linear fit through the NEP observations at the 6 and 15year old stands indicated the transition from carbon source to sink occurred within 11-12 years. The NEP decline at the 154year old stand appears related to increased losses from Cliveby tree mortality and possibly from Cforest floorby decomposition. Our findings support the idea that NPP, carbon production efficiency (NPP/GPP), NEP, and carbon storage efficiency (NEP/TNPP) all decrease in old boreal stands. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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