Effect of tree species on carbon stocks in forest floor and mineral soil and implications for soil carbon inventories

C.J.E. Schulp, G.J. Nabuurs, P.H. Verburg, R.W. de Waal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


Forest soil organic carbon (SOC) and forest floor carbon (FFC) stocks are highly variable. The sampling effort required to assess SOC and FFC stocks is therefore large, resulting in limited sampling and poor estimates of the size, spatial distribution, and changes in SOC and FFC stocks in many countries. Forest SOC and FFC stocks are influenced by tree species. Therefore, quantification of the effect of tree species on carbon stocks combined with spatial information on tree species distribution could improve insight into the spatial distribution of forest carbon stocks. We present a study on the effect of tree species on FFC and SOC stock for a forest in the Netherlands and evaluate how this information could be used for inventory improvement. We assessed FFC and SOC stocks in stands of beech (Fagus sylvatica), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), oak (Quercus robur) and larch (Larix kaempferi). FFC and SOC stocks differed between a number of species. FFC stocks varied between 11.1 Mg C ha¿1 (beech) and 29.6 Mg C ha¿1 (larch). SOC stocks varied between 53.3 Mg C ha¿1 (beech) and 97.1 Mg C ha¿1 (larch). At managed locations, carbon stocks were lower than at unmanaged locations. The Dutch carbon inventory currently overestimates FFC stocks. Differences in carbon stocks between conifer and broadleaf forests were significant enough to consider them relevant for the Dutch system for carbon inventory
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-490
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • forest ecology
  • species composition
  • forests
  • carbon dioxide
  • greenhouse gases
  • land-use history
  • spatial variability
  • pine
  • management
  • impact
  • mitigation
  • belgium
  • europe
  • transformation
  • decomposition

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