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Forests 2015, 6(9), 3304-3325; doi:10.3390/f6093304

Carbon Dioxide and Methane Formation in Norway Spruce Stems Infected by White-Rot Fungi

1
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, P.O. Box 115, Aas NO-1431, Norway
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, Aas N-1432, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mark E. Harmon
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 15 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Forests Carbon Fluxes and Sequestration)
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Abstract

Globally, billions of tons of carbon sequestered in trees are annually recycled back to the atmosphere through wood decomposition by microbes. In Norway, every fifth Norway spruce shows at final harvest infection by pathogenic white-rot fungi in the genera Heterobasidion and Armillaria. As these fungi can mineralize all components of wood, we predicted that they have a significant carbon footprint. Gas samples taken from infected stems were analyzed for CO2 and CH4 concentrations, and wood samples from different parts of the decay columns were incubated under hypoxic (4% O2) and anoxic laboratory conditions. In spring and summer the stem concentrations of CO2 were generally two times higher in trees with heartwood decay than in healthy trees. For most of the healthy trees and trees with heartwood decay, mean stem concentrations of CH4 were comparable to ambient air, and only some Armillaria infected trees showed moderately elevated CH4. Consistently, low CH4 production potentials were recorded in the laboratory experiment. Up-scaling of CO2 efflux due to wood decay in living trees suggests that the balance between carbon sequestration and emission may be substantially influenced in stands with high frequency of advanced root and stem heartwood decay. View Full-Text
Keywords: Armillaria; climate change; forest management; Heterobasidion; wood decay; CO2; CH4 Armillaria; climate change; forest management; Heterobasidion; wood decay; CO2; CH4
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hietala, A.M.; Dörsch, P.; Kvaalen, H.; Solheim, H. Carbon Dioxide and Methane Formation in Norway Spruce Stems Infected by White-Rot Fungi. Forests 2015, 6, 3304-3325.

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