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Sensitivity of boreal forest carbon balance to soil thaw

January 1, 1998

We used eddy covariance; gas-exchange chambers; radiocarbon analysis; wood, moss, and soil inventories; and laboratory incubations to measure the carbon balance of a 120-year-old black spruce forest in Manitoba, Canada. The site lost 0.3 ?? 0.5 metric ton of carbon per hectare per year (ton C ha-1 year-1) from 1994 to 1997, with a gain of 0.6 ?? 0.2 ton C ha-1 year-1 in moss and wood offset by a loss of 0.8 ?? 0.5 ton C ha-1 year-1 from the soil. The soil remained frozen most of the year, and the decomposition of organic matter in the soil increased 10-fold upon thawing. The stability of the soil carbon pool (~150 tons C ha-1) appears sensitive to the depth and duration of thaw, and climatic changes that promote thaw are likely to cause a net efflux of carbon dioxide from the site.

Publication Year 1998
Title Sensitivity of boreal forest carbon balance to soil thaw
DOI 10.1126/science.279.5348.214
Authors M. L. Goulden, S.C. Wofsy, J. W. Harden, S.E. Trumbore, P.M. Crill, S.T. Gower, T. Fries, B.C. Daube, S.-M. Fan, D.J. Sutton, A. Bazzaz, J.W. Munger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70020709
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse