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Dynamics of soil C, N and Ca in four Swedish forests after removal of tops, branches and stumps as predicted by the Q model

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We used the Q model to examine the dynamics of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and calcium (Ca) in the litter/soil system in different scenarios of harvesting intensities, S (stems only), SSl (stems and slash, i.e. tops, and branches including needles) and SSlSt (stems, slash and stumps including coarse roots). Empirical data from long-term field experiments in Sweden, two sites with Norway spruce and two with Scots pine with different levels of productivity, were used to calibrate the model against the stem-only treatment. The highest initial reduction in soil C, N and Ca stores was predicted for SSlSt, and the reduction was more pronounced at low productive sites than at the high productive ones. Most of the decline in soil C and Ca stocks was offset by the litter production in the following forest stand. N showed an initial phase of immobilisation in stumps and coarse roots, while N was immediately released from tops and branches, which contained N-rich needles. Removal of stumps and coarse roots in combination with slash resulted in a similar load of inorganic soil N as for the S treatment, whereas the SSl treatment with stumps left in the soil initially reduced the inorganic soil N pool.

Keywords: Bioenergy; boreal; calcium; carbon; forest soil; nitrogen

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Ecology,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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