Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (9): 953-963.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0102

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forests of Shaanxi Province, China

Xi LI1,2, Fang WANG3, Yang CAO4,5, Shou-Zhang PENG4,5, Yun-Ming CHEN4,5,*()   

  1. 1Research Center of Institute of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China

    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

    3Water and Soil Conservation Supervision and Management Station of Baota District, Yanan, Shaanxi 716009

    4State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China;

    5Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
  • Received:2017-04-14 Revised:2017-07-09 Online:2017-10-23 Published:2017-09-10
  • Contact: Yun-Ming CHEN


Aims The bank of soil carbon of forests plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. Our aim is to understand the characteristics of soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forests in Shaanxi Province.Methods The data of forest inventory in 2009 and resampling in 2011 were used to analyze the characteristics of soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forest soil in Shaanxi Province.Important findings The soil carbon storage in the forests in Shaanxi Province was 579.68 Tg. Soil carbon storage of Softwood and Hardwood forests were the highest among all forest types, accounting for 36.35% of the whole province forest soil carbon storage. The forest soil carbon storage was 4.15 times greater in the natural forest (467.17 Tg) than that in the plantations. The young and middle-aged forests were the main contributors to the total carbon storage across all age groups, accounting for about 57.30% of the total forest soil carbon storage. The average soil carbon density of forests in Shaanxi Province was 90.68 t∙hm-2, in which the soil carbon density of Betula forests was the highest (141.74 t∙hm-2). Soil carbon density of different forest types were gradually decreased with soil depth. In addition, it was highest in middle-aged forest. Soil carbon density was higher in the natural forest ecosystems than that in the plantations within the each age group, indicating natural forest ecosystems have higher capacity of carbon sequestration. Differences in the spatial patterns between carbon storage and density indicated that carbon storage was related to forest coverage. The soil carbon density and storage of forests in Yulin were the lowest across the province. This suggests that, in order to enhance the regional carbon sequestration capacity in this region, we need to appropriately strengthen artificial afforestation activities and manage them scientifically and rationally. The soil carbon density of forests in Shaanxi Province decreased with the increase of longitude, latitude, and annual temperature, but increased with the increase of altitude and annual rainfall. This study provides data basis for provincial estimation of forest soil carbon bank in China.

Key words: forest soils, carbon storage, carbon density, spatial distribution, influencing factors

Fig. 1

Distribution of sampling sites in the Shaanxi Province."

Table 1

The forest types and their dominant tree species in Shaanxi Province"

林型(代码) Forest type (Code) 主要树种 Dominant tree species 样点数 No. of plots
辽东栎林 Forest of Quercus wutaishanica (A) 辽东栎 Quercus wutaishanica 13
栓皮栎林 Forest of Quercus variabilis (B) 栓皮栎 Quercus variabilis 24
其他栎类林 Other quercus forests (C) 槲栎 Quercus aliena, 麻栎 Quercus acutissima 15
桦木林 Forest of Betula spp. (D) 白桦 Betula platyphylla, 红桦 Betula albosinensis 7
杨树林 Forest of Populus spp. (E) 毛白杨 Populus tomentosa, 山杨 Populus davidiana,
青杨 Populus tcathayana
刺槐林 Forest of Robinia pseudoacacia (F) 刺槐 Robinia pseudoacacia 12
油松林 Forest of Pinus tabuliformis (G) 油松 Pinus tabuliformis 12
其他松类林 Forest of other pines and conifer (H) 巴山松 Pinus henryi, 华山松 Pinus armandi,
马尾松 Pinus massoniana
其他针叶林 Forest of other conifer (I) 刺柏 Juniperus formosana, 侧柏 Platycladus orientalis 3
Forest of softwood and hardwood (J)
椿树 Ailanthus altissima, 栾树 Koelreuteria paniculata,
板栗 Castanea mollissima, 木姜子 Litsea pungens
Mixed coniferous and broad-leaf forest (K)
油松与辽东栎 Pinus tabulaeformis and Quercus wutaishanica,
油松与栓皮栎 Pinus tabuliformis and Quercus wutaishanica

Table 2

Carbon density in different soil layers and different forests (mean ± SE)"

Forest type
土壤碳密度 Carbon density in soil (t∙hm-2)
I (0-10 cm) II (10-20 cm) III (20-30 cm) IV (30-50 cm) V (50-100 cm) 合计 Total
A 23.91 ± 1.06ab 14.13 ± 0.65bc 10.11 ± 0.57c 14.66 ± 0.84bc 24.20 ± 2.17b 87.01 ± 3.81bc
B 21.29 ± 1.06ab 14.02 ± 0.66bc 11.11 ± 0.57c 17.86 ± 1.12bc 33.81 ± 2.11ab 98.10 ± 4.58bc
C 18.76 ± 0.86ab 11.49 ± 0.68bc 7.99 ± 0.52c 11.61 ± 0.90bc 21.09 ± 1.61b 70.94 ± 3.50c
D 29.93 ± 2.37a 21.95 ± 2.11a 19.58 ± 1.63a 28.47 ± 3.21a 41.81 ± 3.00a 141.74 ± 10.28a
E 20.44 ± 1.19ab 13.06 ± 0.91bc 9.30 ± 0.77c 14.04 ± 1.19bc 31.27 ± 2.96ab 88.10 ± 5.31bc
F 14.86 ± 1.41b 7.87 ± 0.88c 6.34 ± 0.73c 9.51 ± 0.92c 19.67 ± 1.74b 58.26 ± 5.16c
G 19.01 ± 0.97ab 12.45 ± 1.00bc 9.44 ± 0.61c 13.06 ± 0.86bc 28.34 ± 2.52b 82.29 ± 4.73bc
H 21.70 ± 1.44ab 13.68 ± 1.19bc 9.91 ± 0.97c 15.24 ± 2.45bc 27.16 ± 3.95b 87.69 ± 8.79bc
I 20.47 ± 1.57ab 11.88 ± 1.49bc 7.66 ± 1.05c 12.70 ± 2.58bc 26.02 ± 5.29b 78.73 ± 10.73bc
J 23.41 ± 2.44ab 16.53 ± 1.87ab 12.99 ± 1.50b 19.54 ± 2.64b 34.98 ± 3.96ab 107.46 ± 10.77ab
K 30.63 ± 4.63a 13.63 ± 1.36bc 9.57 ± 0.90c 13.89 ± 1.65bc 23.64 ± 3.08b 91.36 ± 9.35bc

Fig. 2

Mean soil carbon density of soil 10 cm thickness in different forest types (mean ± SE). Forest types are shown in Table 1."

Fig. 3

Soil carbon storage in different soil layers in the forests of Shaanxi Province. Forest types are shown in Table 1."

Fig. 4

Soil carbon density (A) and soil carbon storage (B) in natural forests and plantations with different stand ages in Shaanxi Province. MAF, middle-aged forest; MF, mature forest; NAF, near-mature forest; OMF, over-mature forest; YF, young forest."

Fig. 5

Geographical distribution of soil carbon density and carbon storages in Shaanxi forests."

Fig. 6

Relationships between forest soil carbon density and longitude, latitude and elevation in Shaanxi Province. R show the fitting degree of regression equation."

Fig. 7

Relationships between forest soil carbon density and climatic factors in Shaanxi Province. R show the fitting degree of regression equation."

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