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Siberian Journal of Forest Science

2014 year, number 5

ESTIMATING FOREST CARBON STOCK IN ALPINE AND ARCTIC ECOTONES OF THE URALS

V. A. Usoltsev1,2, V.P. Chasovskikh2, O. A. Bogoslovskaya2, Yu. V. Noritsina1, V. A. Galako1, G. G. Terekhov1
1Botanical Garden, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ural Branch, 8 Marta str., 202a, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russian Federation
2Ural State Forest Engineering University, Sibirskii Trakt, 37, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russian Federation
Keywords: tree line, ecotone, carbon stock, allometric equations, qualimetry indices, Tylaiskii Rock Mountain, the lower Pur river, the Urals

Abstract

This paper reports on measured carbon stocks in the forests of two tree line ecotones of the Ural region where climate change might improve growing conditions. The first is an alpine ecotone that is represented by an altitudinal gradient of the spruce-dominated forests on the Western slope of the Tylaiskii Kamen Mountain (Western part of the Konzhakovskii–TylaiskiiSerebryanskii Mountain system, 59°30'N, 5900'E), at the alpine timber line that has risen from 864 to 960 m above sea level in the course of the last 100 years. The second is an arctic ecotone in larch-dominated forests at the lower course of the Pur river (67N, 78E), at the transition zone between closed floodplain forests and open or islandlike communities of upland forests on tundra permafrost. According to our results, there are large differences in the carbon of the aboveground biomass of both ecotones across environmental gradients. In the alpine tree line ecotone, a 19-fold drop of the carbon stocks was detected between the lower and higher altitudinal levels. In the arctic ecotone the aboveground biomass carbon stock of forests of similar densities (1300 to 1700 trees per ha) was 7 times as much in the river flood bed, and 5 times as much in mature, dense forests as the low density forests at higher elevations. Twelve regression equations describing dependencies of the aboveground tree biomass (stems, branches, foliage, total aboveground part) upon stem diameter of the tree are proposed, which can be used to estimating the biological productivity (carbon) of spruce and larch forests on Tylaiskii Kamen Mountain and the lower Pur river and on surrounding areas on the base of traditional forest mensuration have been proposed. In order to reduce the labor intensity of a coming determination of forest biomass the average values of density and dry matter content in the biomass fractions are given that were obtained by taking our sample trees.The results can be useful in assessing the income part of the carbon cycle in forests of alpine and arctic tree communities of the Ural region, as well as when validating the results of simulation experiments on evaluation of the carbon depositing capacity of forests.