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Land-use and management impacts on carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems

English title Land-use and management impacts on carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems
Applicant Leifeld Jens
Number 142972
Funding scheme Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme (BSRP)
Research institution Forschungsanstalt Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2013 - 29.02.2016
Approved amount 285'533.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Pedology
Forest Engineering

Keywords (5)

greenhouse gas reporting; forest management; land-use change; radiocarbon; soil carbon modeling

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Ongoing land-use and management changes in various European mountain ecosystems may alter their role as important carbon reservoirs. For soil carbon in particular meaningful data on drivers, stocks and rates is scarce and thus predictive studies on the effect of land-use and management change on carbon stored in mountain ecosystems are highly uncertain. In addition, management is a major control on standing biomass in mountain forests but as for soil carbon, the data base is poor. Reliable data are not only needed for a more substantiated assessment of land-use and management effects on ecosystem carbon storage, but also for developing management recommendations, improved mechanistic modeling and, finally, the corresponding model application in the context of greenhouse gas reporting.

The project will provide carbon stocks and accumulation rates from both measurements and modeling for typical but climatically different mountain ecosystems in four European mountain ranges. The goal of the proposed research is a quantitative understanding of carbon change rates, their drivers, the implementation of results in to models currently used for national greenhouse gas inventories and, finally, the development of management recommendations for mountain ecosystems with respect to their carbon storage function. We will (i) sample soils and forest floor from well studied experimental adjacent sites differing in land-use (grasslands, forests) as well as experimental management gradients/types within grasslands and forests and make use (ii) of already existing data sets along land-use gradients. Sites span a wide range of edaphic, management, and climatic conditions in the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, Rila Mountains and the Alps. Auxiliary climate data for model application are available. These data will be used to derive carbon change rates for the different activities, information on the stability of sequestered carbon and to formulate management recommendations. Radiocarbon measurements of soil and roots from various sites will be used to derive carbon turnover rates.

The project builds on extensive previous experience with research projects on management, land-use and related carbon sequestration in cropland, grassland, abandonment, and forest ecosystems in the Alps and in Bulgarian mountains. The main deliverables of the project will be:

Knowledge rules, transfer functions and recommendations to policy makers,

Comprehensive data sets that allow for scaling up from the plot to a regional landscape level and thus to settle a close link between model validation, application, and improvement.

Validated mechanistic models to be used in national greenhouse gas reporting, sector land use, land use change and forestry, and

Tools for implementation of both reporting issues and management recommendations in Bulgaria and Switzerland.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Consequences of planned afforestation versus natural forest regrowth after disturbance for soil C stocks in Eastern European mountains
Menichetti L., Leifeld J., Kirova L., Szidat S., Zhiyanski M. (2017), Consequences of planned afforestation versus natural forest regrowth after disturbance for soil C stocks in Eastern European mountains, in Geoderma, 297, 19-27.
Carbon storage and soil property changes following afforestation in mountain ecosystems of the Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria
Zhiyanski M. M. Glushkova A. Ferezliev L. Menichetti J. Leifeld (2016), Carbon storage and soil property changes following afforestation in mountain ecosystems of the Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria, in iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, 9, 626-634.
Fine-root production and turnover based on 2-yr of sequential coring in four forest tree species in Bulgaria
Zhiyanski M. (2015), Fine-root production and turnover based on 2-yr of sequential coring in four forest tree species in Bulgaria, in Silva Balcanica, 16(1), 34-49.
Roots biomass and carbon in representative forest ecosystems in Bulgaria
Dimitrova V. M. Lyubenovа M. Zhiyanski E. Vanguelova (2015), Roots biomass and carbon in representative forest ecosystems in Bulgaria, in Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences. JCBPS; Section D, 5(2), 2090-2108.
Description of general soil organic carbon pools in forest ecosystems
Zhiyanski M. (2014), Description of general soil organic carbon pools in forest ecosystems, in Forest Science, 1-2, 121-139.
Analyses of land-cover and species composition of forests on the northern slope of Troyan passage – Beklemeto
Gikov A. Dimitrov P. Zhiyanski M., Analyses of land-cover and species composition of forests on the northern slope of Troyan passage – Beklemeto, in Problems of Geography.
Mapping carbon sequestration using land cover/land use data in area of Beklemeto, Central Balkan
Zhiyanski M. A. Gikov S. Nedkov P. Dimitrov L. Naydenova, Mapping carbon sequestration using land cover/land use data in area of Beklemeto, Central Balkan, in Koulov B. Zhelezov G. (ed.).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Forest Research Institute - BAS Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Exploring mean residence time and distribution of SOC pools in a long term experiment in Switzerland through explicit radiocarbon model structures 21.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Menichetti Lorenzo; Leifeld Jens;
5th International Symposium on Soil Organic Matter 2015 Poster SOM composition under different mountainous land-uses in Bulgaria 20.09.2015 Göttingen, Germany Zhiyanski Miglena; Leifeld Jens;
IUFRO Conference “Global Challenges of Air Pollution and Climate Change to Forests Talk given at a conference Forestry management effect on soil organic matter in coniferous stands 02.06.2015 Nice, France Zhiyanski Miglena;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015 Poster Soil humus composition - comparison between mountain grasslands and forest lands with different land-use intensity 12.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Leifeld Jens; Zhiyanski Miglena;
The Sixth International Workshop on Soil and Sedimentary Organic Matter Stabilization and Destabilization (SOM6) Poster Q10 is not spatially constant along a same-latitude study: modelling implications 05.10.2014 Kiawah Island, SC, United States of America Berridge Callum; Leifeld Jens;
The 17th Meeting of the International Humic Substances Society Talk given at a conference Soil humus composition in mountain grasslands with different land-use intensity 01.09.2014 Joanina, Greece Zhiyanski Miglena;
Carbon-Land-Property International Conference Poster Carbon accumulation in soils in selected mountain regions in Bulgaria. 01.07.2014 Kopenhagen, Denmark Zhiyanski Miglena;
EGU General Assembly 2014 Poster Comparative study on carbon accumulation in soils under managed and unmanaged forests in Central Balkan Mountains 28.04.2014 Wien, Austria Zhiyanski Miglena; Leifeld Jens;
Scientific Studies in Forest Research Institute for the period 2010 – 2012 Talk given at a conference Review of the literature on carbon sequestration in forest soils in the context of the impact of land use and sustainable development 04.04.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Zhiyanski Miglena;
Workshop mountain soils Sofia. Bulgaria Individual talk Land-use and management impacts on C sequestration in mountain ecosystems 28.01.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Leifeld Jens;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop Forest Carbon 04.12.2015 Zurich, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Final project workshop on forest SOC with 30 participants Workshop 15.12.2015 Agroscope Reckenholz, Switzerland Menichetti Lorenzo; Leifeld Jens; Zhiyanski Miglena;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems internet International 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
115891 Labile carbon in soils of alpine grasslands 01.08.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Land-use and management impacts on carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems1. SummaryOngoing land-use and management changes in various European mountain ecosystems may alter their role as important carbon reservoirs. Whereas management effects on carbon storage are fairly well understood for intensively managed temperate ecosystems, the knowledge is poor for mountain ecosystems, typically used less intensive, and almost missing for the role of land-use change therein. For soil carbon in particular meaningful data on drivers, stocks and rates is scarce and thus predictive studies on the effect of land-use and management change on carbon stored in mountain ecosystems are highly uncertain. In addition, management is a major control on standing biomass in mountain forests but as for soil carbon, the data base is poor. Reliable data are not only needed for a more substantiated assessment of land-use and management effects on ecosystem carbon storage, but also for developing management recommendations, improved mechanistic modeling and, finally, the corresponding model application in the context of greenhouse gas reporting. In addition, recent decisions on afforesting in the EU in the coming decades have generated a rather new area for applied studies. There is a major need at the national level for research on the implications of the decisions in relation to the environment, especially on the effect of afforestation on reducing the net emissions of carbon dioxide through increasing the carbon pools in the new forests.The project will provide carbon stocks and accumulation rates from both measurements and modeling for typical but climatically different mountain ecosystems in four European mountain ranges. The goal of the proposed research is a quantitative understanding of carbon change rates, their drivers, the implementation of results in to models currently used for national greenhouse gas inventories and, finally, the development of management recommendations for mountain ecosystems with respect to their carbon storage function. We will (i) sample soils and forest floor from well studied experimental adjacent sites differing in land-use (grasslands, forests) as well as experimental management gradients/types within grasslands and forests and make use (ii) of already existing data sets along land-use gradients. Soil properties and soil and biomass carbon inventories will be measured as well as litterfall and soils fractionated and analyzed for their radiocarbon content, a useful tracer for delineating carbon dynamics. Sites span a wide range of edaphic, management, and climatic conditions in the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, Rila Mountains and the Alps. Auxiliary climate data for model application are available. These data will be used to derive carbon change rates for the different activities, information on the stability of sequestered carbon and to formulate management recommendations. Radiocarbon measurements of soil and roots from various sites will be used to derive carbon turnover rates. A radiocarbon routine will be implemented into the mechanistic model Yasso and carbon dynamics from radiocarbon modeling will be compared with rates derived from two soil carbon models, RothC and Yasso, to evaluate the models performance under the specific conditions of the selected sites. The project builds on extensive previous experience of the two principal investigators with research projects on management, land-use and related carbon sequestration in cropland, grassland, abandonment, and forest ecosystems in the Alps and in Bulgarian mountains. The experience not only includes classical approaches used in environmental sciences but development of knowledge rules, transfer functions and recommendations to policy makers. The research has also been very beneficial for monitoring and can be used as a reference for measurements in land-use change situations and afforested systems. Nevertheless previous studies on forest-related land-use change in mountain ecosystems in particular are few and there is a need for detailed research and technical advancement. Moreover the research results should make it possible to scale up from the plot to a regional landscape level and thus to settle a close link between model validation, application, and improvement. The applied mechanistic models are to be used in national greenhouse gas reporting, sector LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry), but have not been validated yet against isotope-based field measurements in mountain ecosystems. The project will set the stage for their implementation for both reporting issues and management recommendations in Bulgaria and Switzerland.
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