, Volume 370, Issue 1-2, pp 497-509
Date: 26 Feb 2013

Fine root and aboveground carbon stocks in riparian forests: the roles of diking and environmental gradients

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We analysed current carbon (C) stocks in fine root and aboveground biomass of riparian forests and influential environmental parameters on either side of a dike in the Donau-Auen National Park, Austria.


On both sides of the dike, carbon (C) stock of fine roots (CFR) under four dominant tree species and of aboveground biomass (CAB) were assessed by topsoil cores (0–30 cm) and angle count sampling method respectively (n = 48). C stocks were modeled, performing boosted regression trees (BRT).


Overall CFR was 2.8 t ha−1, with significantly higher C stocks in diked (DRF) compared to flooded riparian forests (FRF). In contrast to CFR, mean CAB was 123 t ha−1 and lower in DRF compared to FRF. However, dike construction was consistently ruled out as a predictor variable in BRT. CFR was influenced by the distance to the Danube River and the dominant tree species. CAB was mainly influenced by the magnitude of fluctuations in the groundwater table and the distances to the river and the low groundwater table.


Despite pronounced differences in FRF and DRF, we conclude that there is only weak support that dikes directly influence C allocation in floodplain forests within the time scale considered (110 years).

Responsible Editor: Alain Pierret.