Ecosystem Carbon Stock Loss After Land Use Change In Subtropical Forests In China

Shaohui Fan
Fengying Guan
Xingliang Xu
David Forrester
Wu Ma
Xiaolu Tang


Converting secondary natural forests (SFs) to Chinese fir plantations (CFPs) represents one of the most important (8.9 million ha) land use changes in subtropical China. This study estimated both biomass and soil C stocks in a SF and a CFP that was converted from a SF, to quantify the effects of land use change on ecosystem C stock. After the forest conversion, biomass C in the CFP (73 Mg ha 1) was significantly lower than that of the SF (114 Mg ha 1). Soil organic C content and stock decreased with increasing soil depth, and the soil C stock in the 0–10 cm layer accounted for more than one third of the total soil C stock over 0–50 cm, emphasizing the importance of management of the top soil to reduce the soil C loss. Total ecosystem C stock of the SF and the CFP was 318 and 200 Mg ha 1, respectively, 64% of which was soil C for both stands (205 Mg ha 1 for the SF and 127 Mg ha 1 for the CFP). This indicates that land use change from the SF to the CFP significantly decreased ecosystem C stock and highlights the importance of managing soil C.