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Biometric and eddy-covariance estimates of ecosystem carbon storage at two boreal forest stands in Saskatchewan : 1994-2004



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The boreal forest is one of the world’s largest forest biomes and comprises a major portion of the terrestrial carbon (C) sink. Quantifying the net C change in forest ecosystems is an important step in understanding and modeling the global C cycle. The goals of this project were: to estimate and compare the total change in ecosystem C over a 10-year period in two boreal forest stands using biometric and eddy-covariance approaches, and to evaluate the year-to-year changes in C uptake. This study utilized 10 years of eddy-covariance data and ecosys model data from the Old Aspen (OA) and Old Jack Pine (OJP) sites in central Saskatchewan, part of the Boreal Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Sites (BERMS). According to the eddy-covariance and C stock approaches, between 1994 and 2004 the net change in C storage at OA was 15.6 ± 4.0 and 18.2 ± 8.0 Mg C ha-1, respectively. At OJP, the 10-year net change in C storage from eddy-covariance was 5.8 ± 2.0 Mg C ha-1 in comparison to 6.9 ± 1.6 Mg C ha-1 from the carbon stock approach. While both sites were sinks of C between 1994 and 2004, the greatest increase in C occurred in different components - the forest floor at OA (14.6 Mg C ha-1) and in the living vegetation at OJP (8.0 Mg C ha-1). In 2004, total ecosystem C content was greater at OA (180.6 Mg C ha-1) than OJP (78.9 Mg C ha-1), with 50% (OA) and 39% (OJP) of the C in the detritus and mineral soil pools. During the 10-year period of eddy-covariance measurements, there was a positive correlation between both annual and growing season gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP) and live stem C biomass increment at OA, whereas no significant relationships were found at OJP. Stem C increment accounted for 30% of total net primary productivity (NPP) at both sites, and NPP/GEP ratios were 0.36 and 0.32 at OA and OJP, respectively. Overall, this study found good agreement between eddy-covariance and biometric estimates of ecosystem C change at OA and OJP between 1994 and 2004. Over that period at OA, eddy-covariance estimates of photosynthesis captured the inter-annual variability in C uptake based on the growth of tree rings.



eddy-covariance, forest carbon balance, forest carbon storage, net ecosystem productivity



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Soil Science


Soil Science



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