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Soil-CO2 flux after patch scarification, harrowing and stump harvest in a hemi-boreal forest

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Stump harvesting is one way of increasing the amount of bioenergy, but little is known about the consequences of tree-stump harvesting on the carbon balance in the forest. Therefore, soil-surface CO2 flux (soil respiration, R s) was determined two years after clear-cutting for common soil disturbances occurring after patch scarification, harrowing and stump harvest in southern Sweden. R s from intact soil was found to be of the same magnitude as emissions from areas of mixed humus, indicating only small effects of disturbance. Elevated mounds produced lower emissions than in the intact soil during the second year despite larger amounts of organic matter, probably due to low soil moisture. The lowest R s was found in soil surfaces with exposed mineral soil. The treatment effects on R s were estimated considering the actual area of different disturbances. During the first year, there was no difference in R s among the treatments, whereas in the second year the flux was 10% higher after harrowing and stump harvesting than after patch scarification, implying that the effects on CO2 flux after stump harvest were comparable to conventional harrowing. However, it is unclear whether this finding basically applies to regions where decomposition is limited by soil moisture during the summer.
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Keywords: Bioenergy; site preparation; soil C; soil disturbance; soil respiration; stump removal

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Soil and Environment,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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