European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 307–321 | Cite as

Carbon dynamics and stability between native Masson pine and exotic slash pine plantations in subtropical China

  • Zeqing Ma
  • Henrik HartmannEmail author
  • Huimin WangEmail author
  • Qingkang Li
  • Yidong Wang
  • Shenggong Li
Original Paper


Afforestation and ecological restoration have often been carried out with fast-growing exotic tree species because of their high apparent growth and yield. Moreover, fast-growing forest plantations have become an important component of mitigation measures to offset greenhouse gas emissions. However, information on the long-term performance of exotic and fast-growing species is often lacking especially with respect to their vulnerability to disturbance compared to native species. We compared carbon (C) storage and C accumulation rates in vegetation (above- and belowground) and soil in 21-year-old exotic slash pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm.) and native Masson pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.) plantations, as well as their responses to a severe ice storm in 2008. Our results showed that mean C storage was 116.77 ± 7.49 t C ha−1 in slash pine plantation and 117.89 ± 8.27 t C ha−1 in Masson pine plantation. The aboveground C increased at a rate of 2.18 t C ha−1 year−1 in Masson pine and 2.23 t C ha−1 year−1 in slash pine plantation, and there was no significant difference in C storage accumulation between the two plantation types. However, we observed significant differences in ice storm damage with nearly 7.5 % of aboveground biomass loss in slash pine plantation compared with only 0.3 % loss in Masson pine plantation. Our findings indicated that the native pine species was more resistant to ice storm because of their adaptive biological traits (tree shape, crown structure, and leaf surface area). Overall, the native pine species might be a safer choice for both afforestation and ecological restoration in our study region.


Carbon sequestration Carbon concentration Crown structure Ice storm Pinus massoniana Pinus elliottii 



We would like to express our deepest thanks to Prof. Susan Trumbore for her helpful suggestions in composing this paper. We greatly appreciate Dali Guo and Luke McCormack, for their advice in this study. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped improve the manuscript. This work is financially supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Climate Change: Carbon Budget and Relevant Issues (XDA05070302), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31100324, 31070559), as well as the MPG-CAS doctoral training program.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Max-Planck Institute for BiogeochemistryJenaGermany
  3. 3.University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Water Resources and EnvironmentTianjin Normal UniversityTianjinChina

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