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Type: Journal article
Title: Reforestation with native mixed-species plantings in a temperate continental climate effectively sequesters and stabilizes carbon within decades
Author: Cunningham, S.
Cavagnaro, T.
Nally, R.
Paul, K.
Baker, P.
Beringer, J.
Thomson, J.
Thompson, R.
Citation: Global Change Biology, 2015; 21(4):1552-1566
Publisher: Blackwell Science
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1354-1013
1365-2486
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Shaun C. Cunningham, Timothy R. Cavagnaro, Ralph MacNally, Keryn I. Paul, Patrick J. Baker, Jason Beringer, James R. Thomson, and Ross M. Thompson
Abstract: Reforestation has large potential for mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. Native mixed-species plantings have a higher potential to reverse biodiversity loss than do plantations of production species, but there are few data on their capacity to store carbon. A chronosequence (5-45 yr) of 36 native mixed-species plantings, paired with adjacent pastures, was measured to investigate changes to stocks among C pools following reforestation of agricultural land in the medium rainfall zone (400-800 mm yr(-1) ) of temperate Australia. These mixed-species plantings accumulated 3.09 ± 0.85 t C ha(-1) yr(-1) in aboveground biomass and 0.18 ± 0.05 t C ha(-1) yr(-1) in plant litter, reaching amounts comparable to those measured in remnant woodlands by 20 yr and 36 yr after reforestation, respectively. Soil C was slower to increase, with increases seen only after 45 yr, at which time stocks had not reached the amounts found in remnant woodlands. The amount of trees (tree density and basal area) was positively associated with the accumulation of carbon in aboveground biomass and litter. However, changes to soil C were most strongly related to the productivity of the location (a forest productivity index and soil N content in the adjacent pasture). At 30 yr, native mixed-species plantings had increased the stability of soil C stocks, with higher amounts of recalcitrant C and higher C:N ratios than their adjacent pastures. Reforestation with native mixed-species plantings did not significantly change the availability of macronutrients (N, K, Ca, Mg, P and S) and micronutrients (Fe, B, Mn, Zn and Cu), content of plant toxins (Al, Si), acidity, or salinity (Na, electrical conductivity) in the soil. In this medium rainfall area, native mixed-species plantings provided comparable rates of C sequestration to local production species, with the probable additional benefit of providing better quality habitat for native biota. These results demonstrate that reforestation using native mixed-species plantings is an effective alternative for carbon sequestration to standard monocultures of production species in medium rainfall areas of temperate continental climates, where they can effectively store C, convert C into stable pools and provide greater benefits for biodiversity.
Keywords: Biomass C; carbon sequestration; chronosequence; litter; mixed-species plantings; recalcitrant C; revegetation; soil C
Description: This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/gcb.12746
Rights: This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0030008681
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12746
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP0990038
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT110100602
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT110100957
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT120100463
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT120100715
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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