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Open AccessArticle

Carbon Balance and Streamflow at a Small Catchment Scale 10 Years after the Severe Natural Disturbance in the Tatra Mts, Slovakia

1
Forestry Faculty, Technical University in Zvolen, 960 03 Zvolen, Slovakia
2
Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 841 04 Bratislava, Slovakia
3
Administration of Tatra National Park, 059 21 Svit, Slovakia
4
State Forest of Slovakia Enterprise, 975 66 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
5
Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute Bratislava, 833 15 Bratislava, Slovakia
6
Faculty of Forestry, and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic
7
State Forest of Tatra National Park, 059 60 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2917; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102917
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 10 October 2020 / Accepted: 12 October 2020 / Published: 19 October 2020
Natural disturbances (windthrow, bark beetle, and fire) have reduced forest cover in the Tatra National Park (Slovakia) by 50% since the year 2004. We analyzed carbon fluxes and streamflow ten years after the forest destruction in three small catchments which differ in size, land cover, disturbance type and post-disturbance management. Point-wise CO2 fluxes were estimated by chamber methods for vegetation-dominated land-use types and extrapolated over the catchments using the site-specific regressions with environmental variables. Streamflow characteristics in the pre- and post-disturbance periods (water years of 1965–2004 and 2005–2014, respectively) were compared to identify changes in hydrological cycle initiated by the disturbances. Mature Norway spruce forest which was carbon neutral, turned to carbon source (330 ± 98 gC m−2 y−1) just one year after the wind disturbance. After ten years most of the windthrow sites acted as carbon sinks (from −341 ± 92.1 up to −463 ± 178 gC m−2 y−1). In contrast, forest stands strongly infested by bark beetles regenerated much slowly and on average emitted 495 ± 176 gC m−2 year−1. Ten years after the forest destruction, annual carbon balance in studied catchments was almost neutral in the least disturbed catchment. Carbon uptake notably exceeded its release in the most severely disturbed catchment (by windthrow and fire), where net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was −206 ± 115 gC m−2. The amount of sequestered carbon in studied catchments was driven by the extent of fast-growing successional vegetation cover (represented by the leaf area index LAI) rather than by the disturbance or vegetation types. Different post-disturbance management has not influenced the carbon balance yet. Streamflow characteristics did not indicate significant changes in the hydrological cycle. However, greater cumulative decadal runoff, different median monthly flows and low flows and the greater number of flow reversals in the in the first years after the windthrow in two severely affected catchments could be partially related to the influence of the disturbances. View Full-Text
Keywords: windthrow; bark beetle outbreak; chamber CO2 flux upscaling; LAI; streamflow characteristics windthrow; bark beetle outbreak; chamber CO2 flux upscaling; LAI; streamflow characteristics
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Fleischer, P., Jr.; Holko, L.; Celer, S.; Čekovská, L.; Rozkošný, J.; Škoda, P.; Olejár, L.; Fleischer, P. Carbon Balance and Streamflow at a Small Catchment Scale 10 Years after the Severe Natural Disturbance in the Tatra Mts, Slovakia. Water 2020, 12, 2917.

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