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Open AccessArticle

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
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Mark E. Harmon
Forests 2017, 8(6), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8060209
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)
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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MDPI and ACS Style

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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