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Twenty-Five Years of Aboveground Biomass and Carbon Accumulation Following Extreme Wind Damage in an Old-Growth Forest

Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Forests 2019, 10(3), 289;
Received: 25 January 2019 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
Modeling of carbon dynamics at the landscape, regional, and continental scales is currently limited by few empirical studies of biomass and carbon accumulation after some types of disturbances. For temperate forests of North America, only three previous studies described biomass and carbon accumulation after wind disturbances, and those were limited by either coarse temporal resolution of the first several decades, or limited time span. Here, 25 years of aboveground biomass and carbon accumulation following severe wind disturbance of an old-growth hemlock-northern hardwoods forest of northwestern Pennsylvania are documented to characterize the temporal trends with fine temporal resolution and extend into the third decade post-disturbance. Mature undisturbed forest at the site supported roughly 296 Mg ha−1 live aboveground biomass and 148 Mg ha−1 of carbon. The disturbance reduced the aboveground woody biomass to ~7 Mg ha−1, and carbon to ~3.5 Mg ha−1. During regrowth, biomass and carbon accumulated slowly at first (e.g., 2–4 Mg ha−1 year−1 for biomass and 1–2 Mg ha−1 year−1 for carbon), but at increasing rates up through approximately 17 years post-disturbance, after which accumulation slowed somewhat to roughly 3.4 Mg ha−1 year−1 of biomass and 1.7 Mg ha−1 year−1 of carbon. It appears that the rates reported here are similar to rates observed after wind disturbance of other temperate forests, but slower than accumulation in some tropical systems. Notably, in tropical forests, post-windthrow accumulation is often very rapid in the first decade followed by decreases, while in the results reported here, there was slow accumulation in the first several years that increased in the second decade and then subsequently slowed. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; carbon; severity; wind damage biomass; carbon; severity; wind damage
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Peterson, C.J. Twenty-Five Years of Aboveground Biomass and Carbon Accumulation Following Extreme Wind Damage in an Old-Growth Forest. Forests 2019, 10, 289.

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