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Woody Debris Contribution to the Carbon Budget of Selectively Logged and Maturing Mid-Latitude Forests

Wendy H. Liu, David M. Bryant, Lucy R. Hutyra, Scott R. Saleska, Elizabeth Hammond-Pyle, Daniel Curran and Steven C. Wofsy
Oecologia
Vol. 148, No. 1 (May, 2006), pp. 108-117
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20445889
Page Count: 10
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Woody Debris Contribution to the Carbon Budget of Selectively Logged and Maturing Mid-Latitude Forests
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Abstract

Woody debris (WD) is an important component of forest C budgets, both as a C reservoir and source of CO₂ to the atmosphere. We used an infrared gas analyzer and closed dynamic chamber to measure CO₂ efflux from downed coarse WD (CWD; diameter≥7.5 cm) and fine WD (FWD; 7.5 cm> diameter≥2 cm) to assess respiration in a selectively logged forest and a maturing forest (control site) in the northeastern USA. We developed two linear regression models to predict WD respiration: one based on WD temperature, moisture, and size (R² = 0.57), and the other on decay class and air temperature (R² = 0.32). WD respiration (0.28 ± 0.09 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹) contributed only ≈2% of total ecosystem respiration (12.3±0.7 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹, 1999-2003), but net C flux from CWD accounted for up to 30% of net ecosystem exchange in the maturing forest. C flux from CWD on the logged site increased modestly, from 0.61±0.29 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ prior to logging to 0.77±0.23 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ after logging, reflecting increased CWD stocks. FWD biomass and associated respiration flux were ≈7 times and ≈5 times greater, respectively, in the logged site than the control site. The net C flux associated with CWD, including inputs and respiratory outputs, was 0.35±0.19 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ (net C sink) in the control site and -0.30±0.30 Mg C ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ (net C source) in the logged site. We infer that accumulation of WD may represent a small net C sink in maturing northern hardwood forests. Disturbance, such as selective logging, can enlarge the WD pool, increasing the net C flux from the WD pool to the atmosphere and potentially causing it to become a net C source.

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