Mineral soil carbon fluxes in forests and implications for carbon balance assessments

Thomas Buchholz, Andrew J. Friedland, Claire E. Hornig, William S. Keeton, Giuliana Zanchi, Jared Nunery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (SciVal)


Forest carbon cycles play an important role in efforts to understand and mitigate climate change. Large amounts of carbon (C) are stored in deep mineral forest soils, but are often not considered in accounting for global C fluxes because mineral soil C is commonly thought to be relatively stable. We explore C fluxes associated with forest management practices by examining existing data on forest C fluxes in the northeastern US. Our findings demonstrate that mineral soil C can play an important role in C emissions, especially when considering intensive forest management practices. Such practices are known to cause a high aboveground C flux to the atmosphere, but there is evidence that they can also promote comparably high and long-term belowground C fluxes. If these additional fluxes are widespread in forests, recommendations for increased reliance on forest biomass may need to be reevaluated. Furthermore, existing protocols for the monitoring of forest C often ignore mineral soil C due to lack of data. Forest C analyses will be incomplete until this problem is resolved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-311
JournalGlobal Change Biology Bioenergy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physical Geography


  • carbon accounting
  • deep soil mineral carbon
  • Forest carbon pool
  • assessments
  • forest soil
  • stand level carbon dynamics


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