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Research article2020Peer reviewed

Biomass carbon accumulation patterns throughout stand development in primary uneven-aged forest driven by mixed-severity natural disturbances

Seedre, Meelis; Janda, Pavel; Trotsiuk, Volodymyr; Hedwall, Per-Ola; Morrissey, Robert C.; Mikolas, Martin; Bace, Radek; Cada, Vojtech; Svoboda, Miroslav


Accurate estimations of changes in the forest carbon (C) pools over time are essential for predicting the future forest C balance and its part in the global C cycle. While the overall understanding of global forest C dynamics has improved, some significant forest ecosystem processes have been largely overlooked, resulting in possible biases. As an example, the effects of low and moderate severity disturbances have received disproportionately little attention. In this study, we use an extensive database of 9610 tree increment cores from 400 plots in primary uneven-aged Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests in the Carpathian Mountains, to explore the dynamics of live and dead wood C after disturbance. The data represents a chronosequence of more than 250 years since disturbance, varying highly in severity. We found that disturbance severity had a substantial impact on the post-disturbance long-term accumulation of C. Initially, live tree C accumulated at a similar rate independent of disturbance severity. However, the increase in C leveled off earlier after low disturbance severity while the most heavily disturbed forests continued to accumulate C to the latest stages of stand development. These results stress the importance of taking disturbance severity into account when predicting the long-term dynamics of C storage in forests under climate change. The results also highlight the importance of these forests as significant C pools. If harvested and turned into managed forest they would not reach their maximum C storing capacity.


Natural forest; Uneven-aged forest; Moderate severity disturbance; Non-stand replacing disturbance; Forest productivity; Forest carbon balance; Forest carbon dynamics

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2020, Volume: 455, article number: 117676
Publisher: ELSEVIER

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG13 Climate action

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

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