The effects of management on soil and plant carbon sequestration in slash pine plantations

Authors

  • Jianping Shan,

    Corresponding author
    1. D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
      Present address and correspondence: Jianping Shan, Weyerhaeuser Company, PO Box 238, Old Stagecoach Road, Oglethorpe, GA 31068, USA (fax 912 4725314; e-mailjpshan@hotmail.com).
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      Present address and correspondence: Jianping Shan, Weyerhaeuser Company, PO Box 238, Old Stagecoach Road, Oglethorpe, GA 31068, USA (fax 912 4725314; e-mail
  • Lawrence A. Morris,

    1. D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
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  • Ronald L. Hendrick

    1. D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
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Present address and correspondence: Jianping Shan, Weyerhaeuser Company, PO Box 238, Old Stagecoach Road, Oglethorpe, GA 31068, USA (fax 912 4725314; e-mailjpshan@hotmail.com).

Summary

  • 1Intensively managed pine plantations in the south-eastern United States can play an important role in global carbon sequestration both through accumulation of carbon in wood used in long-lasting products as well as through increased soil carbon storage. Fertilization and understorey-elimination are two commonly used intensive management practices in the south-eastern United States that have the potential to increase carbon storage in vegetation and affect soil carbon.
  • 2In this study, we assessed the effects of these practices on carbon accumulation in vegetation biomass and in the soil of 17-year-old slash pine Pinus elliottii plantations in the flatwoods of northern Florida, USA.
  • 3Three treatments, fertilization, understorey-elimination, and fertilization plus understorey-elimination, were evaluated and compared with an untreated control.
  • 4All three treatments increased above-ground biomass accumulation compared with the untreated control; understorey-elimination also increased biomass of the forest floor litter, with or without fertilization.
  • 5Although understorey-elimination increased above-ground production, as a result of reduced below-ground production total net primary production was decreased in plots from which the understorey was eliminated.
  • 6Soil carbon storage was lower in plots where the understorey was eliminated, with or without fertilization. This appeared to be the result of reduced fine root growth and mortality but also may have reflected reduced litterfall inputs early in the rotation.
  • 7Our results indicate that intensive management of pine plantations on sandy flatwoods soils can increase carbon sequestration, but these increases will be the result of increased carbon accumulation in biomass and its long-term uses rather than through increased soil carbon.

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