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Climatic regions as an indicator of forest coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks in the United States



Climatic regions as an indicator of forest coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks in the United States



Carbon Balance and Management 3: 5



Coarse and fine woody debris are substantial forest ecosystem carbon stocks; however, there is a lack of understanding how these detrital carbon stocks vary across forested landscapes. Because forest woody detritus production and decay rates may partially depend on climatic conditions, the accumulation of coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks in forests may be correlated with climate. This study used a nationwide inventory of coarse and fine woody debris in the United States to examine how these carbon stocks vary by climatic regions and variables. Mean coarse and fine woody debris forest carbon stocks vary by Köppen's climatic regions across the United States. The highest carbon stocks were found in regions with cool summers while the lowest carbon stocks were found in arid desert/steppes or temperate humid regions. Coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks were found to be positively correlated with available moisture and negatively correlated with maximum temperature. It was concluded with only medium confidence that coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks may be at risk of becoming net emitter of carbon under a global climate warming scenario as increases in coarse or fine woody debris production (sinks) may be more than offset by increases in forest woody detritus decay rates (emission). Given the preliminary results of this study and the rather tenuous status of coarse and fine woody debris carbon stocks as either a source or sink of CO2, further research is suggested in the areas of forest detritus decay and production.

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Accession: 036418222

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18541029

DOI: 10.1186/1750-0680-3-5


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