European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 132, Issue 5–6, pp 825–840 | Cite as

Country-level carbon balance of forest soils: a country-specific model based on case studies in Hungary

  • Z. Somogyi
  • A. Bidló
  • I. Csiha
  • G. Illés
Original Paper


International agreements require countries to annually report on greenhouse gas emissions and removals. For the land-use sector, this includes estimating stock changes in various carbon pools. For carbon pools like mineral forest soil where a country-level statistical inventory based on measurements is very difficult, models are usually applied together with data from case studies. In this paper, we present a country-specific model together with case studies that aim at capturing major soil processes due to forestry activity. These processes include “hot moments”, e.g., disturbances that occur rarely but might result in relatively high emissions. The model only aims at developing a conservative estimate, rather than a central one, of net country-level carbon stock change with emissions overestimated and removals underestimated. The model is partially parameterised using paired sampling of soil organic carbon in the uppermost 30-cm layer, applying standard methods including those suggested by IPCC, in afforestations on former croplands and in artificial regenerations. Results show that soils of afforested croplands act as a sink, and carbon stock after regeneration might decrease due to disturbance by forest operations, but might also increase due to transfer of carbon from dead roots to soil depending on disturbance levels. The estimation at the country level, which involves additional considerations and data from the literature, suggests that overall, forest soils are a net sink in Hungary, but also that artificially limiting soil organic carbon changes estimation to the uppermost 30-cm layer as applied in the IPCC methodology might lead to artefacts.


Soil organic carbon Carbon stock change Kyoto Protocol Afforestation Regeneration Forestry operation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forest Ecology and SilvicultureHungarian Forest Research InstituteBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Forest Site Diagnosis and ClassificationUniversity of West-HungarySopronHungary
  3. 3.Department of Plantation ForestryHungarian Forest Research InstitutePüspökladányHungary

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