Soil Carbon Dioxide Efflux Across Four Age Classes Of Plantation Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.)On The Virginia Piedmont
Wiseman, Phillip Eric
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Soil carbon dioxide efflux resulting from microbial and root respiration is a major component of the forest carbon cycle. We undertook this investigation to better understand the nature of soil carbon dioxide efflux of plantation loblolly pine, an important ecological and economical resource in the southeastern United States. Specifically, we hoped to learn how soil carbon dioxide efflux differs both spatially and temporally for four age classes of plantation loblolly pine on the Virginia piedmont. During a 12-month period, soil carbon dioxide efflux was repeatedly measured for four age classes of plantation loblolly pine using a dynamic, closed-chamber infrared gas analyzer. The age classes examined were 1- to 2-year-old, 4- to 6-year-old, 8- to 12-year-old, and 20- to 25-year-old stands. Mean soil carbon dioxide efflux rates measured during the 12-month study were 1.72, 2.58, 2.84, and 2.90 micromole/sq m/s for 1- to 2-year-old, 4- to 6-year-old, 8- to 12-year-old, and 20- to 25-year-old stands, respectively. Stand age had a significant effect on efflux rate during 10 of the 12 monthly sampling sessions. Additionally, mean efflux rates were consistently higher near the tree and a significant positional difference was detected during 8 of the 12 monthly sampling sessions. Mean soil carbon dioxide efflux rates, by position, for the 12-month study were 2.72 and 2.28 micromole/sq m/s for the near and away measurement positions, respectively. Based on monthly mean soil carbon dioxide efflux rates, annual carbon losses were estimated at 651, 976, 1074, and 1082 g C/sq m/yr for 1- to 2-year-old, 4- to 6-year-old, 8- to 12-year-old, and 20- to 25-year-old stands, respectively. Regression analysis was used to examine the influence of soil and climatic factors on seasonal changes in soil carbon dioxide efflux. The most influential factors affecting soil carbon dioxide efflux during the 12-month study were soil temperature, soil moisture, stand age, and measurement position. We believe respiring roots significantly influence soil carbon dioxide efflux of plantation loblolly pine and account for differences observed between stands of different ages as well as spatial differences observed within a given stand.
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