Plant and Soil

, Volume 366, Issue 1–2, pp 261–271 | Cite as

Fine root dynamics and soil carbon accretion under thinned and un-thinned Cupressus lusitanica stands in, Southern Ethiopia

  • Zeleke Asaye
  • Solomon ZewdieEmail author
Regular Article


Background and aims

Forest management activities influences stand nutrient budgets, belowground carbon allocation and storage in the soil. A field experiment was carried out in Southern Ethiopia to investigate the effect of thinning on fine root dynamics and associated soil carbon accretion of 6-year old C. lusitanica stands.


Fine roots (≤2 mm in diameter) were sampled seasonally to a depth of 40 cm using sequential root coring method. Fine root biomass and necromass, vertical distribution, seasonal dynamics, annual turnover and soil carbon accretion were quantified.


Fine root biomass and necromass showed vertical and temporal variations. More than 70 % of the fine root mass was concentrated in the top 20 cm soil depth. Fine root biomass showed significant seasonal variation with peaks at the end of the major rainy season and short rainy season. Thinning significantly increased fine root necromass, annual fine root production and turnover. Mean annual soil carbon accretion, through fine root necromass, in the thinned stand was 63 % higher than that in the un-thinned stand.


The temporal dynamics in fine roots is driven by the seasonality in precipitation. Thinning of C. lusitanica plantation would increase soil C accretion considerably through increased fine root necromass and turnover.


Cupressus lusitanica Fine root Production Soil carbon accretion Thinning Turnover 





Diameter at Breast Height


Promising Crop Trees


Soil Organic Carbon


Mean standing fine root biomass


Annual Production


Analysis of Variance



This study was financially supported by Oromia Agricultural Research Institute through Adami Tulu Research Center. The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript. The authors also thank Woineshet Afework for assisting in laboratory fine root processing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oromiya Agricultural Research InstituteZiwayEthiopia
  2. 2.School of Forestry, Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural ResourcesHawassa UniversityHawassaEthiopia

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