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Dead wood carbon density for the main tree species in the Lithuanian hemiboreal forest

Abstract

Aboveground dead wood has a range of important ecological functions, including carbon (C) storage. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories established on the basis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, Lithuania is encouraged to quantify C pools in forests, including C in living biomass, soil and dead wood. The aim of this study was to assess species-specific dead wood density (DWD) and carbon content (CC) per decay class for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), silver birch or downy birch (Betula pendula Roth or Betula pubescens Ehrh.), European aspen (Populus tremula L.), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench), black alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.), common oak (Quercus robur L.) and European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.), as the main representative hemiboreal forest tree species. The study findings revealed that mean DWD significantly decreased, while mean CC slightly increased during the wood decomposition process, which led to carbon density (CD) reduction over five decay classes. The mean CC showed little variation among the eight tree species and ranged between 47 and 54%. The lower CDs in the dead wood of decay classes 1 and 2 were more associated with coniferous than deciduous species. The estimated CD significantly decreased in all species with increasing decay class. Dead wood at decay class 5 of Scots pine, silver or downy birch, European ash and common oak had the highest CD, followed by Norway spruce and grey alder, and the lowest CDs were obtained for European aspen and black alder.

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Acknowledgements

The study was supported by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania in the frame of 2009–2014 European Economic Area or Norwegian Financial Mechanisms and Co-financing. The paper partly presents the findings obtained through the long-term research programme “Sustainable Forestry and Global Changes” implemented by the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry. The authors also thank the reviewers for their comments that helped to improve this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Iveta Varnagirytė-Kabašinskienė.

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Stakėnas, V., Varnagirytė-Kabašinskienė, I., Sirgedaitė-Šėžienė, V. et al. Dead wood carbon density for the main tree species in the Lithuanian hemiboreal forest. Eur J Forest Res 139, 1045–1055 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-020-01306-3

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Keywords

  • Dead wood density
  • Carbon content
  • Forest tree species
  • Species-specific estimates
  • Wood decay class