Opportunities for research on carbon management in longleaf pine ecosystems
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Joshua J. Puhlick; Thomas Liam O'Halloran; Gregory Starr; Rebecca B. Abney; Lauren S. Pile Knapp; Robert A. McCleery; Kier D. Klepzig; Steven T. Brantley; Bo Song
Publication Year: 2023

Cataloging Information

  • carbon accumulation
  • carbon markets
  • carbon sequestration
  • climate change
  • ecosystem services
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 3, 2023
FRAMES Record Number: 68089


Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savannas and woodlands are known for providing numerous ecosystem services such as promoting biodiversity, reducing risk of wildfire and insect outbreaks, and increasing water yields. In these open pine systems, there is also interest in managing carbon (C) in ways that do not diminish other ecosystem services. Additionally, there may be management strategies for accomplishing these same objectives in plantations and degraded stands that developed from natural regeneration. For example, C accumulation in live trees and C storage in harvested wood products could be increased by extending rotations and converting plantations to multi-aged stands. Belowground C storage could be enhanced by incorporating pyrogenic C into the mineral soil before planting longleaf pines in clearcut areas, but this may be contrary to findings that indicate that minimizing soil disturbance is important for long-term soil C storage. We suggest examining approaches to reduce total ecosystem C emissions that include using targeted browsing or grazing with domesticated livestock to supplement prescribed burning, thereby reducing C emissions from burning. The mastication of woody vegetation followed by a program of frequent prescribed burning could be used to reduce the risk of substantial C emissions from wildfires and to restore function to savannas and woodlands with hardwood encroachment and altered fire regimes. Many of these approaches need to be validated with field studies or model simulations. There is also a need to improve the estimates of dead wood C stocks and C storage in harvested wood products. Finally, eddy covariance techniques have improved our understanding of how disturbances influence longleaf pine C dynamics over multiple time scales. However, there is a need to determine the degree to which different silvicultural approaches, especially those for adapting ecosystems to climate change, influence C accumulation. Overall, our review suggests that there are numerous opportunities for research on C dynamics in longleaf pine ecosystems, and these systems are likely well-positioned to accomplish C objectives while offering other ecosystem services.

Online Link(s):
Puhlick, Joshua J.; O'Halloran, Thomas L.; Starr, Gregory; Abney, Rebecca B.; Pile Knapp, Lauren S.; McCleery, Robert A.; Klepzig, Kier D.; Brantley, Steven T.; McIntyre, R. Kevin; Song, Bo. 2023. Opportunities for research on carbon management in longleaf pine ecosystems. Forests 14(5):874.