Title: Factors promoting larch dominance in central Siberia: fire versus growth performance and implications for carbon dynamics at the boundary of evergreen and deciduous conifers
Citation: BIOGEOSCIENCES vol. 9 no. 4 p. 1405-1421
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC68624
ISSN: 1726-4170
URI: http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/1405/2012/bg-9-1405-2012.html
DOI: 10.5194/bg-9-1405-2012
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The relative roles of fire and climate in determining canopy species composition and aboveground carbon stocks were investigated. Measurements were made along a transect extending from the dark taiga zone of Central Siberia, where Picea and Abies dominate the 5 canopy, into the Larix zone of Eastern Siberia. We test the hypotheses that the change in canopy species composition is based (1) on climate-driven performance only, (2) on fire only, or (3) on fire-performance interactions. We show that the evergreen conifers Picea obovata and Abies sibirica are the natural late-successional species both in Central and Eastern Siberia, provided there has been no fire for an 10 extended period of time. There are no changes in the climate-driven performance of the observed species. Fire appears to be the main factor explaining the dominance of Larix. Of lesser influence were longitude, hydrology and active-layer thickness. Stand-replacing fires decreased from 300 to 50 yr between the Yenisei Ridge and the upper Tunguska. Repeated non-stand-replacing surface fires eliminated the regenera15 tion of Abies and Picea. With every 100 yr since the last fire, the percentage of Larix decreased by 20 %. Biomass of stems of single trees did not show signs of age-related decline. Relative diameter increment was 0.41±0.20% at breast height and stem volume increased linearly over time with a rate of about 0.36 tCha−1 yr−1 independent of age class and 20 species. Stand volumes reached about 130 tCha−1 (equivalent to about 520m3 ha−1). Individual trees of Larix were older than 600 yr. The maximum age and biomass seemed to be limited by fungal rot of heart wood. 60% of old Larix and Picea and 30% of Pinus sibirica trees were affected by stem rot. Implications for the future role of fire and of plant diseases are discussed.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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