Mixed-species Effect on Tree Aboveground Carbon Pools in the East-Central Boreal Forests
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
This study investigates the potential of mixed forest stands as better aboveground carbon sinks than pure stands. According to the facilitation and niche complementarity hypotheses, we predict higher carbon sequestration in mature boreal mixedwoods. Aboveground carbon contents of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns, Poggenb.) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) mixtures were investigated in the eastern boreal forest, whereas jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) and trembling aspen were used in the central boreal forest. No carbon gain was found in species mixtures; nearly pure trembling aspen stands contained the greatest amount of aboveground carbon, black spruce stands had the least, and mixtures were intermediate with amounts that could generally be predicted by linear interpolation with stem proportions. These results suggest that for aspen, the potentially detrimental effect of spruce on soils observed in other studies may be offset by greater light availability in mixtures. On the other hand, for black spruce, the potentially beneficial effects of aspen on soils could be offset by greater competition by aspen for nutrients and light. The mixture of jack pine and trembling aspen did not benefit any of these species while inducing a loss in trembling aspen carbon at the stand level.
Cavard, X., Bergeron, Y. Chen, H.Y.H., Pare, D. 2010. Mixed-species effect on tree aboveground carbon pools in the east-central boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 40(1):37-47.