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Soil respiration in young and old stands in northern hardwood forests, NH by Kikang Bae,  SUNY-ESF, PhD 2012

Objectives and methods  
We measured soil respiration for two growing seasons to investigate differences in Jeffers Brook (most fertile), Hubbard Brook (intermediate), and Bartlett (C6 and C9, least fertile) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. At each site, we had one mature stand (~100 years post-harvest) and one young stand (~30 years post-harvest).

Soil respiration was measured every three to four weeks during summer (June – August) and every four to five weeks during spring (March - May) and fall (September – November) in 2009 and 2010 using an IRGA system (LI-8100). Five PVC collars were permanently inserted 1 to 4 cm into the soil in each plot (20 collars per site). Soil respiration measurements were made between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Soil respiration was higher in old stands than young stands (by 2 – 17%; p = 0.11-0.34) (Figure 1). Soil respiration was highest in stands where soil nutrients were lowest (Figure 1). Annual soil respiration was highest at Bartlett, (1103 g C/m2/yr in the old stand), intermediate at Hubbard Brook, and lowest at Jeffers Brook, (669 g C/m2/yr in the young stand) (p = 0.06) (Figure 2). These results support that forests allocate more carbon belowground in ecosystems with low nutrient availability. Also, these results suggest that old stands have higher soil respiration than young stands.


Figure 1. Observed soil respiration in young and old in Bartlett (BEF), Hubbard Brook (HB), and Jeffer’s Brook (JB). Bars are standard error of the mean (n = 20 measurement points per stand). Bottom graphs are separated by site.



Figure 2. Mean ± S.E. (n = 4 replicate plots) of annual soil respiration, in young and old stands at the Bartlett (BEF), Hubbard Brook (HB), and Jeffer’s Brook (JB).

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Page Updated 02/21/2012 12:37:02 -0500