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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Net CO2 emissions from a primary boreo-nemoral forest over a 10 year period

Hadden, David; Grelle, Achim


Primary forests play an important role in the global carbon balance. With little to no human intervention, primary forests are shaped and characterised by disturbances such as weather extremes, fire, insect and pathogen attacks. Such disturbances have a direct impact on the volume of coarse woody debris (CWD) which contributes to the total ecosystem respiration (Re). There are currently few studies that present continuous long term measurements of the carbon balance of northern primary forests. We used the eddy covariance method to measure continuous carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes from a Swedish primary boreo-nemoral forest over a ten year period. By mapping the measured CO2 fluxes to the forest ecosystem we could indicate that small areas that had some form of disturbance and areas with significant levels of CWD within the eddy covariance footprint contributed to the total Re resulting in the forest being a net carbon source. A weighing algorithm, was used to account for directional ecosystem heterogeneity and to estimate a representative carbon balance for the ecosystem. The forest ecosystem was a continuous source of CO2 to the atmosphere, losing around 25 Mg per hectare of CO2 over a ten year period. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Primary forest; Carbon balance; Eddy covariance; Ecosystem respiration; Forest disturbance

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2017, Volume: 398, pages: 164-173

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      Forest Science

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