Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils, study finds

April 15, 2016
Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College study shows. Credit: talaakso via Foter.com / CC BY

Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College study shows.

The findings appear in the journal Soil Science.

Soil is the world's largest terrestrial pool. In northern hardwood forests in the United States, mineral pools store up to 50 percent of total ecosystem carbon. Logging and other land-use changes are a major cause of soil carbon release, but there has been recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio.

The Dartmouth researchers explored whether clear-cutting changes the strength of the chemical bonds of carbon stored in mineral soils in hardwood forests in the northeastern United States. Clear-cutting involves harvesting all timber from a site at once rather than selectively culling mature trees. Carbon is stored in soil by binding only to certain soil structures.

The researchers collected soils from recently clear-cut forests and from older forests, and pulled carbon from the soil in a sequence of gentle to stronger extractions. The results showed that mature stands stored significantly more soil organic carbon in strongly mineral-bound and stable carbon pools than did soils from cut stands.

"Clear-cutting forests has an effect of mobilizing the carbon, making it more likely to leave the soil and end up in the atmosphere," says senior author Andrew Friedland, a professor of environmental studies. "These findings are important because differences in the relative distribution of carbon in organo-mineral pools in mature and cut forests may inform our understanding of soil organic matter stability and bioavailability, microbial decomposition and production in ecosystems after clear-cutting."

Explore further: Logging destabilizes forest soil carbon over time, study finds

More information: Soil Science, dx.doi.org/10.1097/SS.0000000000000147 , journals.lww.com/soilsci/Abstr … SOM_Pools.99634.aspx

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Shootist
1.4 / 5 (11) Apr 15, 2016
Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils


Meteor impacts and volcanoes must be right out.
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 15, 2016
"Logging and other land-use changes are a major cause of soil carbon release, but there has been recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio."

The phrase, "logging and other land-use changes are a major cause..." has a nasty ring to it other than merely an explanation of the release of carbon, i.e. the potential for U.S. governmental abuses by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the area of sovereign "Property Rights" of American citizens. It shouldn't be the gov's role to decide which "privately-owned forests" should not be cut and how it should be cut and harvested. Gov already has control of forested public lands, but there is the potential for abuses in the form of "eminent domain" in terms of logging & other land-use changes wrt soil carbon releases.
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2016
(cont'd)
from Wikipedia:
Timberlands.
The Bureau manages 55 million acres (220,000 km2) of forests and woodlands, including 11 million acres (45,000 km2) of commercial forest and 44 million acres (180,000 km2) of woodlands in 11 western states and Alaska.[42] 53 million acres (210,000 km2) are productive forests and woodlands on public domain lands and 2.4 million acres (9,700 km2) are on O&C lands in western Oregon.[42]

Biomass and bioenergy.
Its large portfolio of productive timberlands leaves BLM with woody biomass among its line of forest products.[73] The biomass is composed of "smaller diameter materials" and other debris that result from timber production and forest management.[73] Though the use of these materials as a renewable resource is nascent, the agency is engaged in pilot projects to increase the use of its biomass supplies in bioenergy programs.[73]

(cont'd)
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2016
(cont'd)
"...there has been recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio."

A diversified "renewable energy" portfolio that includes the use of biomass must ensure that the burning of wood will add to the CO2 in the atmosphere from privately-owned fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, etc. This article seems to be critical of the type of logging b/c of the release of carbon into the atmosphere...but then it mentions that there is "great potential for the use of biomass" in the northeastern U.S., which seems to be a contradiction if there is a concern about sequestering carbon.
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2016
Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils


Meteor impacts and volcanoes must be right out.
- Shootist
The East African Rift is a good source of CO2 also where that region is being torn apart as the continent is shifting and the rift is widening. The CO2 source very deep in the mantle. I hope that the researchers of the cutting methods of forests are also taking into consideration ALL natural sources of CO2 rather than a forest product that provides heat for warmth and cooking and is renewable. Obviously, this is why there is immediate replanting of forests after the logging has been done.
dan42day
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2016
In other news today, it was shown that welfare payments increase atmospheric carbon-dioxide by allowing otherwise unproductive people to continue living, reproducing, and driving fossil fuel burning vehicles, many of which are much less efficient than those used by more productive people.
Steelwolf
5 / 5 (5) Apr 16, 2016
There was a major problem with the clear cutting logging back in the 70's, a certain tax bill had been passed that taxed standing timber as an asset, and so many land owners, especially Weyerhaeuser and other logging/pulp industry land holders clear-cut HUGE sections of the West Coast coast mountains and Cascade Ranges, Parks aside, and it was done in such a way that most did not know how bad the clearcutting had been because they tried to keep it invisible from the highways, leaving strips along the roads so folks could not see the damage beyond. The next few summers were markedly hotter and dryer than they had been and that peak has been partially used to show human caused climate change, but doesn't show the Right mechanism that did it, overlogging in a short period of time. Removed the transpiration effect and canopy, much groundwater was lost and ponds and smaller streams dried up. It has recovered much since then but is still not healed, but constantly aggravated.
Steelwolf
5 / 5 (5) Apr 16, 2016
And at the time, in the 70's, replanting was not yet an absolute requirement, that came later as a consequence. Much of the fire problem that we have out here now is because of the fact that there are these second-growth (and third growth) timber stands that were never thinned or properly managed, and did not grow like a normal forest should, in stages, as after a fire. So there are all these stands of thickly planted trees, crowding each other, and their dead lower branches all intertwine which does 2 things, allows quicker spread of beetles, and fire. That is part of the reason they now do 'understory' burns, controlled burns to remove the close-to-the-ground fuel and deadwood. Properly managed a forest uses a Lot of carbon, abused, it is released again and the damage often comes in unexpected ways. I come from a long line of West Coast loggers, so have some distilled generational experience on this matter.
HeloMenelo
3 / 5 (12) Apr 22, 2016
Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils


Meteor impacts and volcanoes must be right out.

as aways shootist shot the potty miss
HeloMenelo
2.6 / 5 (10) Apr 22, 2016
(cont'd)
"...there has been recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio."

A diversified "renewable energy" portfolio that includes the use of biomass must ensure that the burning of wood will add to the CO2 in the atmosphere from privately-owned fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, etc. This article seems to be critical of the type of logging b/c of the release of carbon into the atmosphere...but then it mentions that there is "great potential for the use of biomass" in the northeastern U.S., which seems to be a contradiction if there is a concern about sequestering carbon.

talking to your own sockpuppet...again... :D
Pumastar
2.6 / 5 (10) Apr 23, 2016
he sure is... lol

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