Soil carbon pools in Swiss forests show legacy effects from historic forest litter raking
2013 (English)In: Landscape Ecology, ISSN 0921-2973, E-ISSN 1572-9761, Vol. 28, no 5, 835-846 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Globally, forest soils contain twice as much carbon as forest vegetation. Consequently, natural and anthropogenic disturbances affecting carbon accumulation in forest soils can alter regional to global carbon balance. In this study, we evaluate the effects of historic litter raking on soil carbon stocks, a former forest use which used to be widespread throughout Europe for centuries. We estimate, for Switzerland, the carbon sink potential in current forest soils due to recovery from past litter raking ('legacy effect'). The year 1650 was chosen as starting year for litter raking, with three different end years (1875/1925/1960) implemented for this forest use in the biogeochemical model LPJ-GUESS. The model was run for different agricultural and climatic zones separately. Number of cattle, grain production and the area of wet meadow have an impact on the specific demand for forest litter. The demand was consequently calculated based on historical statistical data on these factors. The results show soil carbon pools to be reduced by an average of 17 % after 310 years of litter raking and legacy effects were still visible 130 years after abandonment of this forest use (2 % average reduction). We estimate the remaining carbon sink potential in Swiss forest due to legacy effects from past litter raking to amount to 158,000 tC. Integrating historical data into biogeochemical models provides insight into the relevance of past land-use practices. Our study underlines the importance of considering potentially long-lasting effects of such land use practices for carbon accounting.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
3311 GZ DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS, 2013. Vol. 28, no 5, 835-846 p.
Author Keywords:Historical ecology; Land-use legacy; Soil carbon pool; Biogeochemical modeling; Recovery time; Switzerland
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100191DOI: 10.1007/s10980-012-9778-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-100191DiVA: diva2:790451