Original Paper


, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 7-25

First online:

Pools and fluxes of carbon in three Norway spruce ecosystems along a climatic gradient in Sweden

  • Dan Berggren KlejaAffiliated withDepartment of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Email author 
  • , Magnus SvenssonAffiliated withDepartment of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology
  • , Hooshang MajdiAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Per-Erik JanssonAffiliated withDepartment of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology
  • , Ola LangvallAffiliated withAsa Experimental Forest and Research Station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Bo BergkvistAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, University of Lund
  • , Maj-Britt JohanssonAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Soils, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Per WeslienAffiliated withDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Göteborg University
  • , Laimi TruusbAffiliated withInstitute of Ecology, Tallin University
    • , Anders LindrothAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Analysis, Lund University
    • , Göran I. ÅgrenAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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This paper presents an integrated analysis of organic carbon (C) pools in soils and vegetation, within-ecosystem fluxes and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in three 40-year old Norway spruce stands along a north-south climatic gradient in Sweden, measured 2001–2004. A process-orientated ecosystem model (CoupModel), previously parameterised on a regional dataset, was used for the analysis. Pools of soil organic carbon (SOC) and tree growth rates were highest at the southernmost site (1.6 and 2.0-fold, respectively). Tree litter production (litterfall and root litter) was also highest in the south, with about half coming from fine roots (<1 mm) at all sites. However, when the litter input from the forest floor vegetation was included, the difference in total litter input rate between the sites almost disappeared (190–233 g C m−2 year−1). We propose that a higher N deposition and N availability in the south result in a slower turnover of soil organic matter than in the north. This effect seems to overshadow the effect of temperature. At the southern site, 19% of the total litter input to the O horizon was leached to the mineral soil as dissolved organic carbon, while at the two northern sites the corresponding figure was approx. 9%. The CoupModel accurately described general C cycling behaviour in these ecosystems, reproducing the differences between north and south. The simulated changes in SOC pools during the measurement period were small, ranging from −8 g C m−2 year−1 in the north to +9 g C m−2 year−1 in the south. In contrast, NEE and tree growth measurements at the northernmost site suggest that the soil lost about 90 g C m−2 year−1.


Soil carbon Boreal ecosystems Climatic gradient CoupModel Root litter Dissolved organic carbon