A meta-analysis of changes in soil organic carbon stocks after afforestation with deciduous broadleaved, sempervirent broadleaved, and conifer tree species

Guolong Hou, Claudio O. DELANG*, Xixi Lu, Lei Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Key message: Different tree species have dissimilar capacities to sequester soil organic carbon (SOC). Deciduous broadleaved trees show the most stable increase in SOC stock after afforestation than other tree species, while sempervirent conifer trees show the lowest rate of SOC stock change. Sempervirent broadleaved trees show the greatest increase in SOC stock 20 years after afforestation. Context: The rate at which soil organic carbon (SOC) stock changes after afforestation varies considerably with the tree species. A better understanding of the role of tree species in SOC change dynamic is needed to evaluate the SOC sequestration potential of afforestation programs. Aims: The aim of this paper is to identify the dissimilar rates at which different tree species sequester SOC, following afforestation. Methods: We complete a meta-analysis with 544 data points from 261 sites in 90 papers. We group tree species into decidious broadleved, sempervirent broadleaved and sempervirent conifer. We use standardization and/or extrapolation methods to standardize soil depths. Statistical analysis test the main effects of tree species and their interactions with previous land use and plantation age on SOC stock change after afforestation. Results: Deciduous broadleaved trees show a stable increase in SOC stock, and are especially suited for afforestation of grassland or soils with high initial SOC. Sempervirent broadleaved afforestation results in loss of SOC stock in young stands, but greater SOC stock in mature stands. Sempervirent conifer trees show the lowest rate of SOC stock change, but are suitable for nutrient-poor soil. Conclusion: The results emphasize the importance of considering tree species when estimating SOC stock change, in particular when carbon sequestration is an objective of afforestation programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalAnnals of Forest Science
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Afforestation
  • Deciduous broadleaved
  • Sempervirent broadleaved
  • Sempervirent conifer
  • Soil organic carbon stock change

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