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Forests 2016, 7(7), 141; doi:10.3390/f7070141

Thinning Intensity Affects Soil-Atmosphere Fluxes of Greenhouse Gases and Soil Nitrogen Mineralization in a Lowland Poplar Plantation

1
College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
2
Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 6 May 2016 / Revised: 5 July 2016 / Accepted: 6 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
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Abstract

Thinning is one of the intensive forest management techniques commonly applied to increase the merchantable timber volume. However, how thinning affects soil–atmospheric fluxes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is poorly understood. A field experiment with four treatments (CK: unthinned; MB: medium intensity thinning from below; HB: high intensity thinning from below; and HI: high intensity thinning by removing every alternative row of trees) was conducted to assess the impact of thinning regimes on soil–atmospheric fluxes of GHGs (CO2, CH4, and N2O) and soil nitrogen mineralization in a poplar plantation established on a lowland. Thinning significantly increased soil water content and water table in the high thinning treatments (HB and HI) and tended to increase soil temperature (p < 0.10). The result of the one-year study showed that estimated annual emissions of CO2 and CH4 were higher in HB and HI than in other treatments, while the highest emission of N2O was in the CK. The thinning treatments increased the annual emission of CO2 by 23%–64% and that of CH4 by 190%–1200%, but decreased that of N2O by 41%–62%. Thinning increased annual N mineralization by 50.3% in HI and 30.1%in HB. Changes in soil temperature and water table drove CO2, CH4, and N2O emissions, while soil water content was the most important factor driving CH4 emission. We conclude that the moderate thinning (MB) regime is the best thinning option to minimize the impact on GHG emissions for lowland poplar plantations with similar conditions to those tested in this study. View Full-Text
Keywords: poplar plantation; thinning regime; greenhouse gas emission; soil environment; nitrogen mineralization rate poplar plantation; thinning regime; greenhouse gas emission; soil environment; nitrogen mineralization rate
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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

Fang, S.; Lin, D.; Tian, Y.; Hong, S. Thinning Intensity Affects Soil-Atmosphere Fluxes of Greenhouse Gases and Soil Nitrogen Mineralization in a Lowland Poplar Plantation. Forests 2016, 7, 141.

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