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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2006

  • Title: Evidence for a carbon sink in a New England temperate forest five years after selective logging
  • Author: ()
  • Abstract:

    Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are mitigated by carbon sequestration in the terrestrial biosphere, including temperate forests in the northern hemisphere, which are a significant carbon sink. Many of the second-growth mixed hardwood forests that cover large parts of eastern North America are under management plans that include harvesting for economic gain. This study examines the effect of a selective timber harvest typical of the North Quabbin region in North Central Massachusetts on the storage of carbon in woody biomass. We used plot-based biometric measurements to estimate annual fluxes in the live and dead aboveground carbon pools from 2000 through 2005 in a tract of forest that was selectively logged in 2001. As a control, these measurements were compared to analogous biometric measurements done on an adjacent tract of forest in the footprint of an eddy flux covariance measurement site. Annual carbon storage due to tree growth has increased steadily since the harvest. While oak (Quercus spp.) dominated net increase in live biomass at both sites, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), and red maple (Acer rubrum), also contributed to biomass increase on the cut site. Carbon uptake by trees less than 30 cm in diameter at breast height was greater on the cut site on both a per area and per tree basis. Our data on annual fluxes in the live and dead carbon pools suggest that the aboveground carbon pool on the cut site was a carbon sink in 2003 through 2005 and increased slightly in net carbon uptake from 1.30 to 1.45 MgC/ha over that period. This was comparable to the magnitude of uptake on the control site, which had a three-year mean of 1.39 MgC/ha but was more variable because of the episodic nature of mortality on this site.

  • Research Category: Forest-Atmosphere Exchange