The role of soil drainage class in carbon dioxide exchange and decomposition in boreal black spruce (Picea mariana) forest stands
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Kimberly P. Wickland; Jason C. Neff; Jennifer W. Harden
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • air temperature
  • black spruce
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • carbon dioxide
  • coniferous forests
  • decomposition
  • drainage
  • fire regimes
  • lichens
  • litter
  • moisture
  • mosses
  • photosynthesis
  • Picea
  • Picea mariana
  • population density
  • research
  • soil management
  • soil moisture
  • soil organic matter
  • soil temperature
  • soils
  • spruce
  • temperature
  • tundra
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 10, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 49211
Tall Timbers Record Number: 25536
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - C
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) forest stands range from well drained to poorly drained, typically contain large amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC), and are often underlain by permafrost. To better understand the role of soil drainage class in carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange and decomposition, we measured soil respiration and net CO2 fluxes, litter decomposition and litterfall rates, and SOC stocks above permafrost in three Alaska black spruce forest stands characterized as well drained (WD), moderately drained (MD), and poorly drained (PD). Soil respiration and net CO2 fluxes were not significantly different among sites, although the relation between soil respiration rate and temperature varied with site (Q10: WD > MD > PD). Annual estimated soil respiration, litter decomposition, and groundcover photosynthesis were greatest at PD. These results suggest that soil temperature and moisture conditions in shallow organic horizon soils at PD were more favorable for decomposition compared with the better drained sites. SOC stocks, however, increase from WD to MD to PD such that surface decomposition and C storage are diametric. Greater groundcover vegetation productivity, protection of deep SOC by permafrost and anoxic conditions, and differences in fire return interval and (or) severity at PD counteract the relatively high near-surface decomposition rates, resulting in high net C accumulation. © 2010 National Research Council of Canada, NCR Research Press. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Wickland, K. P., J. C. Neff, and J. W. Harden. 2010. The role of soil drainage class in carbon dioxide exchange and decomposition in boreal black spruce (Picea mariana) forest stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 40, no. 11, p. 2123-2134. 10.1139/X10-163.