Doctoral Student Roth Eva-Maria

30000 €

Comparing the impact of continuous cover forest management and rotation forest management on long-term soil carbon storage.

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

In my research, I compare the potential long-term soil carbon (C) storage under continuous cover forestry and clear-cut based rotation forest management in boreal spruce and pine forests. My research is strongly linked to Finland and the specific conditions in boreal forests. Boreal forests hold about one third of the terrestrial carbon storage and play a key role in climate change mitigation. The majority of this carbon is stored in the soil. Hence, it is important to understand how forest management affects the soil carbon storage. Finland has set itself the goal to become carbon neutral by 2035. In order to reach this important goal, emissions from forestry need to be cut and carbon sinks need to be strengthened. Continuous cover forestry has recently come to focus as an alternative to the traditional rotation forest management. Until 2014 continuous cover forestry was politically discouraged in Finland with the declaration against uneven-aged forestry. Therefore, scientific knowledge and long-term experiences regarding this management practice are still lacking. The results from this study will answer this research need. I carried out field measurements and soil sampling on long-term experimental forests plots from the Natural Resources Institute Finland in Vessari, Central Finland and Lieksa, Eastern Finland with continuous management treatments, clear-cuts and uncut controls. I quantified the soil C stocks and C fluxes to the soil. I analysed the stability of soil organic matter and assessed the effects of the different management forms on microbial biomass, fungal necromass, fungal community composition and condensed tannins from roots, which can slow down the microbial activity in soils. I have focused my study on soil fungi since fungi are known to play a vital role in the built up of a recalcitrant C pool in boreal forests. At the end of my PhD thesis work, I can draw conclusions regarding the future stabilization of C in the soil.