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Selected Publication:

Sanden, H; Mayer, M; Stark, S; Sanden, T; Nilsson, LO; Jepsen, JU; Wali, PR; Rewald, B.
(2020): Moth Outbreaks Reduce Decomposition in Subarctic Forest Soils
ECOSYSTEMS. 2020; 23(1): 151-163. FullText FullText_BOKU

Tree mortality from insect infestations can significantly reduce carbon storage in forest soils. In subarctic birch forests (Betula pubescens), ecosystem C cycling is largely affected by recurrent outbreaks of defoliating geometrid moths (Epirrita autumnata, Operophtera brumata). Here, we show that soil C stocks in birch forests across Fennoscandia did not change up to 8 years after moth outbreaks. We found that a decrease in woody fine roots was accompanied by a lower soil CO2 efflux rate and a higher soil N availability following moth outbreaks. We suggest that a high N availability and less ectomycorrhiza likely contributed to lowered heterotrophic respiration and soil enzymatic activity. Based on proxies for decomposition (heterotrophic respiration, phenol oxidase potential activity), we conclude that a decrease in decomposition is a prime cause why soil C stocks of mountain birch forest ecosystems have not changed after moth outbreaks. Compared to disturbed temperate and boreal forests, a CO2-related positive feedback of forest disturbance on climate change might therefore be smaller in subarctic regions.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Mayer Mathias
Rewald Boris
Sanden Hans

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Betula pubescens
disturbed subarctic forests
Epirrita autumnata
heterotrophic soil respiration
Operophtera brumata
root biomass
soil carbon sequestration
soil CO2 efflux
soil enzyme activity
structural equation modelling

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