, Volume 121, Issue 1-2, pp 147-156

Simulation of soil carbon cycling and carbon balance following clear-cutting in a mid-temperate forest and contribution to the sink of atmospheric CO2

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Abstract

A simulation model of soil carbon cycling was developed based on the data observed in a mid-temperate forest in Yoshiwa, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, and soil carbon cycling and carbon budget in a mature forest stand and following clear-cutting were calculated on a daily basis using daily air temperature and precipitation data. The seasonal change in the amount of the A0 layer was characterized by a decrease from spring to autumn due to rapid decomposition of litter, and recovery in late autumn due to a large litterfall input. There was little change in the amount of humus in mineral soil. These estimates coincides closely with those observed in the field. Most flow rates and the accumulation of soil carbon decreased very markedly just after clear-cutting. The A0 layer reached its minimum in 10 years, and recovered its loss within 50–60 years after cutting. A large loss of carbon was observed just after cutting, but the balance changed from negative to positive in 15 years after cutting. The total loss of soil carbon following cutting recovered within 30 years, and nearly the same amount of carbon as that stocked in the timber before harvesting accumulated 70–80 years after cutting. The calculation by the simulation model was made using the assumption that the increase in atmospheric CO2 promoted the primary production rate by 10% over the last three decades. The result suggests that about 8 t C ha-1 was sunk into soils of the mid-temperate forest over the same period. It indicates that forest soils may be one of the main sinks for atmospheric CO2.