Canadian Forest Service Publications
Carbon dioxide fluxes in coastal Douglas-fir stands at different stages of development after clearcut harvesting. 2006. Humphreys, E.R.; Black, T.A.; Morgenstern, K.; Cai, T.; Drewitt, G.B.; Nesic, Z.; Trofymow, J.A. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 140(1-4): 6-22.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 29572
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Forests play a significant role in the global carbon (C) cycle. Variability in weather, species, stand age, and current and past disturbances are some of the factors that control stand-level C dynamics. This study examines the relative roles of stand age and associated structural characteristics and weather variability on the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and three different coastal Douglas-fir stands at different stages of development after clearcut harvesting. The eddy covariance technique was used to measure carbon dioxide fluxes and a portable soil chamber system was used to measure soil respiration in the three stands located within 50 km of each other on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. In 2002, the recently clearcut harvested stand (HDF00) was a large C source, the pole/sapling aged stand (HDF88) was a moderate C source, and the rotation-aged stand (DF49) was a moderate C sink (net ecosystem production of -606, -133, and 254 g C m-2 year-1, respectively). Annual gross ecosystem production and ecosystem respiration also increased with increasing stand age. Differences in stand structural characteristics such as species composition and phenology were important in determining the timing and magnitude of maximum gross ecosystem production and net ecosystem production through the year. Both soil and ecosystem respiration were exponentially related to soil temperature in each stand with total ecosystem respiration differing more among stands than soil respiration. Between 1998 and 2003, annual net ecosystem production ranged from 254 to 424 g C m-2 year-1 over 6 years for DF49, from -623 to -564 g C m-2 year-1 over 3 years for HDF00, and from -154 to -133 g C m-2 year-1 over 2 years for HDF88. Interannual variations in C exchange of the oldest, most structurally stable stand (DF49) were related to variations in spring weather while the rapid growth of understory and pioneer species influenced variations in HDF00. The differences in net ecosystem production among stands (maximum of 1000 g C m-2 year-1 between the oldest and youngest stands) were an order of magnitude greater than the differences among years within a stand and emphasized the importance of age-related differences in stand structure on C exchange processes.