Canadian Forest Service Publications

Assessing a new soil carbon model to simulate the effect of temperature increase on the soil carbon cycle in three eastern Canadian forest types characterized by different climatic conditions. 2006. Larocque, G.R.; Boutin, R.; Paré, D.; Robitaille, G.; Lacerte, V. Can. J. Soil Sci. 86: 187-202.

Year: 2006

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26320

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


The predictive capacity of process-based models on the carbon (C) cycle in forest ecosystems is limited by the lack of knowledge on the processes involved. Thus, a better understanding of the C cycle may contribute to the development of process-based models that better represent the processes in C cycle models. A new soil C model was developed to predict the effect of an increase in the temperature regime on soil C dynamics and pools in sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), balsam fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.] and black spruce [Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.] forest types in Eastern Canada. Background information to calibrate the model originated from the experimental sites of the ECOLEAP project as well as from a companion study on laboratory soil incubation. Different types of litter were considered in the model: foliage, twigs, understory species, other fine detritus and fine roots. A cohort approach was used to model litter mineralization over time. The soil organic C in the organic (F and H) and mineral layers (0-20 cm) was partitioned into active, slow and passive pools and the rates of C transfer among the different pools and the amount of CO2 respired were modelled. For each forest type, there was a synchrony of response of the C pools to soil temperature variation. The results of the simulations indicated that steady state conditions were obtained under current temperature conditions. When mean annual soil temperatures were gradually increased, the litter and active and slow C pools decreased substantially, but the passive pools were minimally affected. The increase in soil respiration resulting from a gradual increase in temperature was not pronounced in comparison to changes in mineralization rates. An increase in litter production during the same period could contribute to reducing net C losses.

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