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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 4
Biogeosciences, 13, 1299-1308, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-1299-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 13, 1299-1308, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-1299-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 02 Mar 2016

Research article | 02 Mar 2016

Windthrows increase soil carbon stocks in a central Amazon forest

Leandro T. dos Santos1,*, Daniel Magnabosco Marra1,2,3,*, Susan Trumbore2, Plínio B. de Camargo4, Robinson I. Negrón-Juárez5, Adriano J. N. Lima1, Gabriel H. P. M. Ribeiro1, Joaquim dos Santos1, and Niro Higuchi1 Leandro T. dos Santos et al.
  • 1Laboratório de Manejo Florestal, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil
  • 2Biogeochemical Processes Department, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 3AG Spezielle Botanik und Funktionelle Biodiversität, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 4Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Piracicaba, Brazil
  • 5Climate Sciences Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, USA
  • *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Windthrows change forest structure and species composition in central Amazon forests. However, the effects of widespread tree mortality associated with wind disturbances on soil properties have not yet been described in this vast region. We investigated short-term effects (7 years after disturbance) of widespread tree mortality caused by a squall line event from mid-January of 2005 on soil carbon stocks and concentrations in a central Amazon terra firme forest. The soil carbon stock (averaged over a 0–30cm depth profile) in disturbed plots (61.4±8.2Mgha−1, mean ±95% confidence interval) was marginally higher (p = 0.09) than that from undisturbed plots (47.7±13.6Mgha−1). The soil organic carbon concentration in disturbed plots (2.0±0.17%) was significantly higher (p<0.001) than that from undisturbed plots (1.36±0.24%). Moreover, soil carbon stocks were positively correlated with soil clay content (r2 = 0.332, r = 0.575 and p = 0.019) and with tree mortality intensity (r2 = 0.257, r = 0.506 and p = 0.045). Our results indicate that large inputs of plant litter associated with large windthrow events cause a short-term increase in soil carbon content, and the degree of increase is related to soil clay content and tree mortality intensity. The higher carbon content and potentially higher nutrient availability in soils from areas recovering from windthrows may favor forest regrowth and increase vegetation resilience.

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In the Amazon forest, wind disturbances can create canopy gaps of many hundreds of hectares. We show that inputs of plant litter associated with large windthrows cause a short-term increase in soil carbon stock. The degree of increase is related to soil clay content and tree mortality intensity. The higher carbon content and potentially higher nutrient availability in soils from areas recovering from windthrows may favor forest regrowth and increase vegetation resilience.
In the Amazon forest, wind disturbances can create canopy gaps of many hundreds of hectares. We...
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