Spatial variability of organic layer thickness and carbon stocks in mature boreal forest stands—implications and suggestions for sampling designs

  • Terje Kristensen
  • Mikael Ohlson
  • Paul Bolstad
  • Zoltan Nagy
Article

Abstract

Accurate field measurements from inventories across fine spatial scales are critical to improve sampling designs and to increase the precision of forest C cycling modeling. By studying soils undisturbed from active forest management, this paper gives a unique insight in the naturally occurring variability of organic layer C and provides valuable references against which subsequent and future sampling schemes can be evaluated. We found that the organic layer C stocks displayed great short-range variability with spatial autocorrelation distances ranging from 0.86 up to 2.85 m. When spatial autocorrelations are known, we show that a minimum of 20 inventory samples separated by ∼5 m is needed to determine the organic layer C stock with a precision of ±0.5 kg C m−2. Our data also demonstrates a strong relationship between the organic layer C stock and horizon thickness (R2 ranging from 0.58 to 0.82). This relationship suggests that relatively inexpensive measurements of horizon thickness can supplement soil C sampling, by reducing the number of soil samples collected, or to enhance the spatial resolution of organic layer C mapping.

Keywords

Boreal forest Geostatistics Forest floor Kyoto protocol Podzols Spatial autocorrelation Norway spruce 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Natural ManagementNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  3. 3.f+n: Design & Engineering ConsultingZurichSwitzerland

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