Short-term effects of clearfelling on soil CO2, CH4, and N2O fluxes in a Sitka spruce plantation

Maurizio Mencuccini, Argyro Zerva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We examined the effects of forest clearfelling on the fluxes of soil CO2, CH4, and N2O in a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) plantation on an organic-rich peaty gley soil, in Northern England. Soil CO2, CH4, N2O as well as environmental factors such as soil temperature, soil water content, and depth to the water table were recorded in two mature stands for one growing season, at the end of which one of the two stands was felled and one was left as control. Monitoring of the same parameters continued thereafter for a second growing season. For the first 10 months after clearfelling, there was a significant decrease in soil CO2 efflux, with an average efflux rate of 4.0 g m−2 d−1 in the mature stand (40-year) and 2.7 g m−2 d−1 in clearfelled site (CF). Clearfelling turned the soil from a sink (−0.37 mg m−2 d−1) for CH4 to a net source (2.01 mg m−2 d−1). For the same period, soil N2O fluxes averaged 0.57 mg m−2 d−1 in the CF and 0.23 mg m−2 d−1 in the 40-year stand. Clearfelling affected environmental factors and lead to higher daily soil temperatures during the summer period, while it caused an increase in the soil water content and a rise in the water table depth. Despite clearfelling, CO2 remained the dominant greenhouse gas in terms of its greenhouse warming potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2025-2036
Number of pages12
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Clearfelling
  • Soil CO2 efflux
  • Soil N2O flux
  • Soil CH4 flux
  • Sitka spruce


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