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Conversion of biomass to charcoal and the carbon mass balance from a slash-and-burn experiment in a temperate deciduous forest



Conversion of biomass to charcoal and the carbon mass balance from a slash-and-burn experiment in a temperate deciduous forest



Holocene 17(4): 539-542



Anthropogenic burning, including slash-and-burn, was deliberately used in (pre)historic Central Europe. Biomass burning has affected the global carbon cycle since, presumably, the early Holocene. The understanding of processes and rates of charcoal formation in temperate deciduous forests is limited, as is the extent of prehistoric human impact on the environment. We took advantage of an experimental burning to simulate Neolithic slash-and-burn, and we quantified the biomass fuel and charcoal produced, determined the resulting distribution of the charcoal size fractions and calculated the carbon mass balance. Two-thirds of the charcoal particles (6.71 t/ha) were larger than 2000 Rm and the spatial distribution of charcoal was highly variable (15-90% per m(2)). The conversion rate of the biomass fuel to charcoal mass was 4.8%, or 8.1% for the conversion of biomass carbon to charcoal

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Accession: 013998916

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DOI: 10.1177/0959683607077041


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