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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-319
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-319
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Increasing soil carbon stocks in eight typical forests in China

Jianxiao Zhu1,2, Chuankuan Wang3, Zhang Zhou2,4, Guoyi Zhou5, Xueyang Hu2, Lai Jiang2, Yide Li4, Guohua Liu6, Chengjun Ji2, Shuqing Zhao2, Peng Li2, Jiangling Zhu2, Zhiyao Tang2, Chengyang Zheng2, Richard A. Birdsey7, Yude Pan8, and Jingyun Fang2 Jianxiao Zhu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, College of Pastoral Agricultural Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730020, China
  • 2Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Science, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 3Center for Ecological Research, Northeast Forestry University, 26 Hexing Road, Harbin 150040, China
  • 4Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, No. 682 Guangshanyi Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510520, China
  • 5Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
  • 6Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
  • 7Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA 02540, USA
  • 8US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Durham, NH 03824, USA

Abstract. Forest soils represent a major stock of organic carbon (C) in the terrestrial biosphere, but the dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock are poorly quantified, especially based on direct field measurements. In this study, we investigated the 20-year changes in the SOC stocks at eight sites from southern to northern China. The averaged SOC stocks increased from 125.2 ± 85.2 Mg C ha−1 in the 1990s to 133.6 ± 83.1 Mg C ha−1 in the 2010s across the forest sites, with a mean increase of 127–908 kg C ha−1 yr−1. This SOC accumulation was resulted primarily from both leaf litter and fallen logs and equivalent to 3.6–16.3 % of aboveground net primary production. Our findings provide strong evidence that China's forest soils have been acting as significant carbon sinks although their strength varies with forests in different climates.

Jianxiao Zhu et al.
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Jianxiao Zhu et al.
Jianxiao Zhu et al.
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Short summary
Soil is the largest carbon pool in forests. Whether forest soils function as a sink or source of atmospheric carbon remains controversial. Here, we investigated the 20-year changes in the soil organic carbon pool at eight permanent forest plots in China. Our results revealed that the soils sequestered 3.6–16.3 % of the annual net primary production across the investigated sites, demonstrating that these forest soils have functioned as an important C sink during the past two decades.
Soil is the largest carbon pool in forests. Whether forest soils function as a sink or source of...
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