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Changes in organic carbon storage in a 50 year white spruce plantation chronosequence established on fallow land in Quebec

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Abstract:

The objectives of this study were to assess the change in organic carbon (C) stocks in aboveground biomass, litter, and soil in a 50 year chronosequence of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) plantations established on non-regenerated fallow land in Quebec, and to determine the effects of ploughing (furrows) on these C stocks. Woody aboveground biomass was determined from dendrometric surveys and the use of allometric equations. The litter was sampled as well as the underlying soil in layers 10 cm thick down to 50 cm depth. The plantations under study were C sinks over the 50 year period, since they accumulated 75 Mg·ha–1 during this period, with the highest rate of C accumulation occurring in the woody aboveground vegetation between 10 and 35 years. The soil at 0–30 cm depth was a C source, mainly until the plantations reached 22 years of age, with an annual loss of 0.8% over 50 years. No difference was observed among the controls and site-preparation treatments. These results suggest that 22-year-old white spruce plantations, the oldest considered for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008–2012), would be a small C sink (12 Mg·ha–1) in southeastern Quebec but would become a larger sink for subsequent commitment periods.

Les objectifs de l'étude consistaient à déterminer, sur une chronoséquence de 50 ans, l'évolution des stocks de carbone organique (C) dans la biomasse épigée, la litière et le sol de plantations d'épinette blanche (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) établies sur des friches non régénérées au Québec et de déterminer l'effet du labourage en bandes sur ces stocks. La biomasse épigée ligneuse a été évaluée à partir d'inventaires dendrométriques et d'équations allométriques. La litière a été échantillonnée, ainsi que le sol par tranches de 10 jusqu'à 50 cm. Les plantations constituaient un puits de C pendant toute la période de 50 ans, accumulant 75 Mg·ha–1 durant cette période, avec une accumulation maximale dans la biomasse épigée ligneuse entre 10 et 35 ans. Le sol (0 à 30 cm) des plantations était une source de C, surtout jusqu' à 22 ans, avec une perte annuelle de 0,8 % sur 50 ans. Aucune différence significative n'a été observée entre le traitement de préparation de terrain et les témoins. Ces résultats suggèrent que les plantations d'épinette blanche âgées de 22 ans, les plus vieilles considérées lors de la première période d'engagement au Protocole de Kyoto (2008 à 2012), seront de faibles puits de C (12 Mg·ha–1) dans le sud-est du Québec mais qui deviendront plus importants lors des périodes subséquentes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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