Similar carbon density of natural and planted forests in the Lüliang Mountains, China
The carbon density was not different between natural and planted forests, while the biomass carbon density was greater in natural forests than in planted forests. The difference is due primarily to the larger carbon density in the standing trees in natural forests compared to planted forests (at an average age of 50.6 and 15.7 years, respectively).
Afforestation and reforestation programs might have noticeable effect on carbon stock. An integrated assessment of the forest carbon density in mountain regions is vital to evaluate the contribution of planted forests to carbon sequestration.
We compared the carbon densities and carbon stocks between natural and planted forests in the Lüliang Mountains region where large-scale afforestation and reforestation programs have been implemented. The introduced peashrubs (Caragana spp.), poplars (Populus spp.), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and native Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis) were the four most common species in planted forests. In contrast, the deciduous oaks (Quercus spp.), Asia white birch (Betula platyphylla), wild poplar (Populus davidiana), and Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis) dominated in natural forests.
Based on the forest inventory data of 3768 sample plots, we estimated the values of carbon densities and carbon stocks of natural and planted forests, and analyzed the spatial patterns of carbon densities and the effects of various factors on carbon densities using semivariogram analysis and nested analysis of variance (nested ANOVA), respectively.
The carbon density was 123.7 and 119.7 Mg ha−1 for natural and planted forests respectively. Natural and planted forests accounted for 54.8% and 45.2% of the total carbon stock over the whole region, respectively. The biomass carbon density (the above- and belowground biomass plus dead wood and litter biomass carbon density) was greater in natural forests than in planted forests (22.5 versus 13.2 Mg ha−1). The higher (lower) spatial carbon density variability of natural (planted) forests was featured with a much smaller (larger) range value of 32.7 km (102.0 km) within which a strong (moderate) spatial autocorrelation could be observed. Stand age, stand density, annual mean temperature, and annual precipitation had statistically significant effects on the carbon density of all forests in the region.
No significant difference was detected in the carbon densities between natural and planted forests, and planted forests have made a substantial contribution to the total carbon stock of the region due to the implementation of large-scale afforestation and reforestation programs. The spatial patterns of carbon densities were clearly different between natural and planted forests. Stand age, stand density, temperature, and precipitation were important factors influencing forest carbon density over the mountain region.
KeywordsForest Afforestation Spatial pattern Mountainous terrain National forest inventory
We thank Dr. Roger Gifford (CSIRO) for the useful comments on the manuscript. We thank Dr. Minggang Zhang for the useful comments on the initial draft of the manuscript.
The work was supported by the Forest Carbon Storage and its Dynamic Research Project in Shanxi Province (No. 2014091003-0106).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- FAO (2010) Global forest resources assessment 2010. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra/fra2010/en/)
- FAO (2015) Global forest resources assessment 2015. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/en/)
- Gavrikov VL, Sharafutdinov RA, Knorre AA, Pakharkova NV, Shabalina OM, Bezkorovaynaya IN, Borisova IV, Erunova MG, Khlebopros RG (2015) How much carbon can the Siberian boreal taiga store: a case study of partitioning among the above-ground and soil pools. J For Res 27:907–912. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-015-0189-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Li Q, Guo FZ (2010) Forestry ecological construction in Shanxi ecological fragile region. China Forestry Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Li HK, Lei YC (2010) Estimation and evaluation of forest biomass carbon storage in China. China Forestry Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Li J, You SC, Huang JF (2006) Spatial interpolation method and spatial distribution characteristics of monthly mean temperature in China during 1961-2000. Ecol Environ 15:109–114Google Scholar
- Liu SR, Wang H, Luan JW (2011) A review of research progress and future prospective of forest soil carbon stock and soil carbon process in China. Acta Ecol Sin 31:5437–5448Google Scholar
- Pan YD, Birdsey RA, Fang JY, Houghton R, Kauppi PE, Kurz WA, Phillips OL, Shvidenko A, Lewis SL, Canadell JG, Ciais P, Jackson RB, Pacala SW, McGuire AD, Piao SL, Rautiainen A, Sitch S, Hayes D (2011) A large and persistent carbon sink in the world’s forests. Science 333:988–993. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1201609 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tian GQ (2010) Forest site classification and afforestation model in Shanxi. China Forestry Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Vieilledent G, Gardi O, Grinand C, Burren C, Andriamanjato M, Camara C, Gardner CJ, Glass L, Rasolohery A, Rakoto Ratsimba HR (2016) Bioclimatic envelope models predict a decrease in tropical forest carbon stocks with climate change in Madagascar. J Ecol 104:703–715. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12679 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wang ZQ (1999) Statistics and its application in ecology. Science and Technology Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Wang GX, Liu XQ, Qiao J (1984) Shanxi forest. China Forestry Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Wang Y, Wang QX, and Wang MB (2018) Basic parameters for estimating the volume, biomass and carbon density of the main dominant tree species (species groups) in the Lüliang Mountains, China. http://hts.sxu.edu.cn/sxsstsjpt/index.htm
- Xiao XW (2005) National forest inventory of China. China Forestry Publishing House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
- Yu YX, Zhang JJ, Wang MB (2008) Study on changes in forest biomass carbon storage in Shanxi Province. Forest Resources Management (6):35–39 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
- Zald HSJ, Spies TA, Seidl R, Pabst RJ, Olsen KA, Steel EA (2016) Complex mountain terrain and disturbance history drive variation in forest aboveground live carbon density in the western Oregon Cascades, USA. For Ecol Manag 366:193–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2016.01.036 CrossRefGoogle Scholar