Technical Report 2

Carbon in Pine Forest Ecosystems of Middle Zavolgie, Russia

Eldar Kurbanov
Internal Report 2
European Forest Institute, Joensuu, Finland, 2000
69 p.

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Beginning with the industrial revolution, the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations still continues to give rise to concern about a long-term global climate change. Being large reservoirs of carbon, the pine forests of Middle Zavolgie are an important part of Russian forests and, thus, of the global carbon cycle.

The aim of this study is to estimate the carbon budget for pine biomass at the stand and regional levels in Middle Zavolgie, Russia. The assessment is based on carbon sequestration. This approach enables studying the remaining amount (subtracted from the gross production) of carbon in vegetation, litter, and soil organic matter after the carbon has been released back into the atmosphere by the respiration and decay processes.

The total carbon budget during a period of 120 years for the I site modal pine stands is 160 Mg C/ha, consisting of vegetation stock 107 Mg C/ha, litter stock 28 Mg C/ha and SOM stock 28 Mg C/ha. The largest total stock of 254 Mg C/ha consists of a normal pine stand of the first site.

The total regional carbon budget of pine forests is 128.4 TgC. While Kirovskaya oblast has the largest proportion of the total carbon stock in Middle Zavolgie (70 TgC), Tatarstan has only 5.2 TgC. The pine stands of Nizegorodskaya oblast and the Mari El Republic have 37.4 TgC and 15.8 TgC of carbon stores, respectively.

This study on the stand level analysis forms the basis for a further method of regional assessments. However, when calculating accurate estimates, several factors should be taken into account. These include stand structure, forest fires, and other disturbances, including the removal of biomass from the forest as wood-based products.

Keywords: pine forests, carbon budget, global warming, forest mensuration, Russia