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Forests 2017, 8(6), 209; doi:10.3390/f8060209

Carbon Stocks across a Fifty Year Chronosequence of Rubber Plantations in Tropical China

1
Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, China
2
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
4
State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mark E. Harmon
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Forests Carbon Fluxes and Sequestration)
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Abstract

Transition from forest to rubber (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.) plantation has occurred in tropical China for decades. Rubber has been planted on 1 million ha to provide raw materials to the rubber industry. The role of various-aged rubber plantations in carbon (C) sequestration remains unclear. The biomass C accumulation including latex C and C distribution in soil of five different-aged stands (7, 13, 19, 25 and 47 years old) were examined. The total biomass C stock (TBC) and total net primary productivity (NPPtotal), whether with or without latex C, had a close quadratic relationship with stand age. Regardless of stand age, around 68% of the C was stored in aboveground biomass, and NPPlatex contributed to approximately 18% of C sequestration. Soil organic carbon stock in the 100-cm depth remained relatively stable, but it lost about 16.8 Mg ha−1 with stand age. The total ecosystem C stock (TEC) across stands averaged 159.6, 174.4, 229.6, 238.1 and 291.9 Mg ha−1, respectively, of which more than 45% was stored in the soil. However, biomass would become the major C sink rather than soil over a maximal rubber life expectancy. Regression analysis showed that TEC for rubber plantation at 22 years is comparable to a baseline of 230.4 Mg ha−1 for tropical forest in China, and would reach the maximum value at around 54 years. Therefore, rubber plantation can be considered as alternative land use without affecting net forest ecosystem C storage. In addition to the potential C gains, a full set of ecosystem and economic properties have to be quantified in order to assess the trade-offs associated with forest-to-rubber transition. View Full-Text
Keywords: latex yield; net primary productivity; quadratic regression model; chronosequence; soil organic carbon latex yield; net primary productivity; quadratic regression model; chronosequence; soil organic carbon
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Liu, C.; Pang, J.; Jepsen, M.R.; Lü, X.; Tang, J. Carbon Stocks across a Fifty Year Chronosequence of Rubber Plantations in Tropical China. Forests 2017, 8, 209.

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