Anike Berane, Georg-August University Göttingen

Management effects on methane and nitrous oxide cycling in temperate upland forests

The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) predicted a considerable increase in the frequency and magnitude of weather extremes across all continents until the late 21st century. Storms, extreme droughts, fire events, and infestations by bark beetle have caused severe damage to German forests in the past two years. Experts estimate 160 million cubic meters of damaged timber and 245.000 hectares that need to be reforested (BMEL, 2020). Shallow-rooting spruce (Picea abies) stands on Luvisols influenced by backwater, were especially affected.

Restoration of forests remains among the most effective strategies for greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation (Bastinet al., 2019), but its effectiveness depends on site characteristics and tree species(Christiansen & Gundersen, 2011). With respect to productivity and resistance to windthrow, Oak (Quercus robur) is considered one of the most suitable tree species for sites with stagnic Luvisols (Otto et al., 2020). Luvisols are characterized by a subsurface layer with distinctly higher clay content than the overlying layer and/or presence of illuvial clay. This layer can lead to backwater hence, stagnic properties and reducing conditions(FAO, 2006; Zech et al., 2014). After rain events, this may lead to substantial emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from these soils (Petrakis et al., 2017). Unfortunately, there is no informational on how afforestation with oak and its management or natural regeneration may affect soil methane and nitrous oxide fluxes.

Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the effects of different management practices and pulse rain events on soil and tree stem methane and nitrous oxide cycling in temperate upland forests.


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