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Title: Above-ground carbon storage, downed wood, and understory plant species richness after thinning in western Oregon

Author: Burton, Julia I.; Ares, Adrian; Mulford, Sara E.; Olson, Deanna H.; Puettmann, Klaus J.

Date: 2013

Source: In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density managment in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 91–100.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Concerns about climate change have generated worldwide interest in managing forests for the uptake and storage of carbon (C). Simultaneously, preserving and enhancing structural, functional, and species diversity in forests remains an important objective. Therefore, understanding tradeoffs and synergies among C storage and sequestration and diversity in managed forests is key to achieving these multiple objectives. Using the experimental framework of the Density Management Study in western Oregon, we examined the relationships among a suite of thinning treatments, above-ground carbon stocks, and understory vascular plant species richness. Six years following treatment implementation, total above-ground C declined with residual density. Total aboveground C in the high-density thinning treatment (300 trees∙ha-1) did not diff er statistically from the untreated control treatment (~370–775 trees∙ha-1), and these two treatments stored 33 percent and 61 percent more C above ground, respectively, than the moderate density (200 trees∙ha-1) and variable density (300, 200, 100 trees∙ha-1) treatments. Diff erences among treatments were primarily related to reductions in the live overstory pool. For all treatments, C stored in the live overstory > large down wood > snags > stumps > small down wood. Coarse down wood (CDW) comprised over 30 percent of the total above-ground C storage. Most of the C in the dead pools appears to be legacy (pre-thinning) material; 50–95 percent of snags, stumps, and large down wood were in intermediate to late stages of decomposition. Between years 6 and 11 post-treatment, the overstory C increment tended to decline with lower residual density, although this trend was not statistically signifi cant. In contrast, understory plant species richness was greater in all thinning treatments than in untreated controls. Relationships varied slightly among treatments. Moderate and variable-density thinning treatments resulted in a negative relationship between understory plant species richness and above-ground C, while no relationship was observed in the high-density treatment and unthinned control. Results suggest that thinning increases plant species richness, implying that there is a trade-off between management for understory plant species richness and above-ground C storage.

Keywords: Biodiversity, carbon sequestration, coarse woody debris, density management, diversity, understory vegetation.

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Citation:


Burton, Julia I.; Ares, Adrian; Mulford, Sara E.; Olson, Deanna H.; Puettmann, Klaus J. 2013. Above-ground carbon storage, downed wood, and understory plant species richness after thinning in western Oregon. In: Anderson, P.D.; Ronnenberg, K.L., eds. Density managment in the 21st century: west side story. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-880. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 91–100.

 


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