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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The distribution of carbon stocks between tree woody biomass and soil differs between Scots pine and broadleaved species (beech, oak) in European forests

Osei, Richard; del Rio, Miren; Ruiz-Peinado, Ricardo; Titeux, Hugues; Bielak, Kamil; Bravo, Felipe; Collet, Catherine; Cools, Corentin; Cornelis, Jean-Thomas; Drossler, Lars; Heym, Michael; Korboulewsky, Nathalie; Lof, Magnus; Muys, Bart; Najib, Yasmina; Nothdurft, Arne; Pretzsch, Hans; Skrzyszewski, Jerzy; Ponette, Quentin


While the impacts of forest management options on carbon (C) storage are well documented, the way they affect C distribution among ecosystem components remains poorly investigated. Yet, partitioning of total forest C stocks, particularly between aboveground woody biomass and the soil, greatly impacts the stability of C stocks against disturbances in forest ecosystems. This study assessed the impact of species composition and stand density on C storage in aboveground woody biomass (stem + branches), coarse roots, and soil, and their partitioning in pure and mixed forests in Europe. We used 21 triplets (5 beech-oak, 8 pine-beech, 8 pine-oak mixed stands, and their respective monocultures at the same sites) in seven European countries. We computed biomass C stocks from total stand inventories and species-specific allometric equations, and soil organic C data down to 40 cm depth. On average, the broadleaved species stored more C in aboveground woody biomass than soil, while C storage in pine was equally distributed between both components. Stand density had a strong effect on C storage in tree woody biomass but not in the soil. After controlling for stand basal area, the mixed stands had, on average, similar total C stocks (in aboveground woody biomass + coarse roots + soil) to the most performing monocultures. Although species composition and stand density affect total C stocks and its partitioning between aboveground woody biomass and soil, a large part of variability in soil C storage was unrelated to stand characteristics.


Ecosystem carbon storage; Aboveground carbon storage; Soil organic carbon; Carbon distribution; Tree species identity; Triplet-transects

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2022, volume: 141, number: 3, pages: 467-480
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Osei, Richard
Catholic University of Louvain
del Rio, Miren
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)
del Rio, Miren
Universidad de Valladolid
Ruiz-Peinado, Ricardo
Instituto Nacional Investigacion Tecnologia Agraria Alimentaria (INIA)
Ruiz-Peinado, Ricardo
Universidad de Valladolid
Bielak, Kamil
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Bravo, Felipe
Universidad de Valladolid
Collet, Catherine
Cornelis, Jean-Thomas
University of British Columbia
Drossler, Lars
Ilia State University
Heym, Michael
Technical University of Munich
Korboulewsky, Nathalie
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Muys, Bart
KU Leuven
Nothdurft, Arne
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Pretzsch, Hans
Technical University of Munich
Skrzyszewski, Jerzy
Agricultural University Krakow
Ponette, Quentin
Catholic University of Louvain

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

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