Carbon stock density in planted versus natural Pinus massoniana forests in sub-tropical China

Carbon stock density was quite similar in planted vs natural forest of Masson’s pine ( Pinus massoniana Lamb.) in China across three ages (7, 15, and 50 years). The stock in the standing trees was larger in planted than in natural forests, but this difference was compensated by larger stocks in the soil and the debris of natural forests.


Most studies on the carbon stocks are focused on management strategies to maximize carbon stocks. We still lack data comparing planted vs natural conifer forests. We compared carbon storage in the different compartment (vegetation, soil, debris) along a chronosequence of Masson’s pine plantations vs natural forests. We investigated 58 Masson’s pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.) forest stands (20 m × 50 m plots), that differ in stand management (planted and natural forests) and age (young, middle-aged, and mature ages) and then calculated the carbon stock densities of vegetation biomass (tree, shrub, and herb), debris, and soil. The carbon stock densities in the planted and natural Masson’s pine forest ecosystems ranged from 78 to 210 Mg ha−1 and from 97 to 177 Mg ha−1 respectively. The carbon stock densities in the vegetation were significantly greater in planted forests than in natural forests. A lower carbon stock density in debris and soil alleviated the increase of biomass carbon stock densities in planted vs natural forests, leading to similar carbon stock densities at ecosystem level. The carbon stock densities in the vegetation increased with age, whereas those of debris and soil remained stable. Planted forests of Masson’s pine sequester similar amounts of carbon at ecosystem level to those in natural forests, reinforcing the idea that planted pine forests can contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emission.



Chen L-C, Liang M-J, Wang S-L 2016. Carbon stock density in planted versus natural Pinus massoniana forests in sub-tropical China. Ann. For. Sci.: 1-12. 10.1007/s13595-016-0539-4.

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