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Long-term effects of clear-cutting and selective cutting on soil methane fluxes in a temperate spruce forest in southern Germany

Long-term effects of clear-cutting and selective cutting on soil methane fluxes in a temperate spruce forest in southern Germany
chair:

Wu X, Brüggemann N, Gasche R, Papen H, Willibald G, Butterbach-Bahl K

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Environmental Pollution, 159: 2467-2475, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.06.025

Date: 2011

Long-term effects of clear-cutting and selective cutting on soil methane fluxes in a temperate spruce forest in southern Germany

Based on multi-year measurements of CH4 exchange in sub-daily resolution we show that clear-cutting of a forest in Southern Germany increased soil temperature and moisture and decreased CH4 uptake. CH4 uptake in the first year after clear-cutting (−4.5 ± 0.2 μg C m−2 h−1) was three times lower than during the pre-harvest period (−14.2 ± 1.3 μg C m−2 h−1). In contrast, selective cutting did not significantly reduce CH4 uptake. Annual mean uptake rates were −1.18 kg C ha−1 yr−1 (spruce control), −1.16 kg C ha−1 yr−1 (selective cut site) and −0.44 kg C ha−1 yr−1 (clear-cut site), respectively. Substantial seasonal and inter-annual variations in CH4 fluxes were observed as a result of significant variability of weather conditions, demonstrating the need for long-term measurements. Our findings imply that a stepwise selective cutting instead of clear-cutting may contribute to mitigating global warming by maintaining a high CH4 uptake capacity of the soil.