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Biogeochemical Factors Contributing to Enhanced Carbon Storage Following Afforestation of a Semi-Arid Shrubland

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Grunzweig, J. M.; Gelfand, I.; Yakir, D.
Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
Volume: 4
Page(s): 2111–2145
Date: 2007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6846
Sector: Forestry
Region: Europe
Subject(s): ecosystems
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Ecosystems in dry regions are generally low in productivity and carbon (C) storage. We report, however, large increases in C sequestration following afforestation of a semi-arid shrubland with Pinus halepensis trees. Using C and nitrogen (N) inventories, based in part on site-specific allometric equations, we measured an increase in the −2 −2 standing ecosystem C stock from 2380 g C m in the shrubland to 5840 g C m in the forest after 35 years, with no significant change in N stocks. The total amount of C produced by the forest was estimated as 6250 g Cm. Carbon sequestration following afforestation was associated with increased N use efficiency as reflected by an overall increase in C/N ratio from 7.6 in the shrubland to 16.6 in the forest. The C accumulation−2 rate in the forest was particularly high for soil organic C (SOC; increase of 1760 g C m −2 −1 or 50 g C m yr ), which was associated with the following factors: 1) Analysis of a 13 small C signal within this pure C3 system combined with size fractionation of soil organic matter indicated a significant addition of new SOC derived from forest vegetation (68% of total forest SOC) and a considerable portion of the old original shrubland SOC (53%) still remaining in the forest. 2) A large part of both new and old SOC appeared to be protected from decomposition as about 60% of SOC under both land-use types were in mineral-associated fractions. 3) A short-term decomposition study indicated decreased decomposition of lower-quality litter and SOC in the forest, based on reduced decay rates of up to 90% for forest compared to shrubland litter. 4) Forest soil included a significant component of live and dead roots. Our results showed the considerable potential for C sequestration, particularly in soils, following afforestation in semi-arid regions, which is particularly relevant in light of persistent predictions of drying trends in the Mediterranean and other regions."

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