Analysis of Terrestrial Carbon Stocks in a Small Catchment of Northeastern Siberia

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Kathryn Heard, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA, United States, Susan Natali, Woods Hole Science Center Falmouth, Falmouth, MA, United States, Andrew G Bunn, Western Washington University, Environmental Sciences, Bellingham, WA, United States, Michael M Loranty, Colgate University, Geography, Hamilton, NY, United States, Alexander L Kholodov, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, John D Schade, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, United States, Logan T. Berner, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States, Valentin Spektor, Melnikov Permafrost Institute SB RAS, Yakutsk, Russia, Nikita Zimov, Northeast Scientific Station, Cherskiy, Russia and Heather Dawn Alexander, Mississippi State University, Department of Forestry, Mississippi State, MS, United States
As arctic terrestrial ecosystems comprise about one-third of the global terrestrial ecosystem carbon total, understanding arctic carbon cycling and the feedback of terrestrial carbon pools to accelerated warming is an issue of global concern. For this research, we examined above- and belowground carbon stocks in a larch-dominated catchment underlain by yedoma and located within the Kolyma River watershed in northeastern Siberia. We quantified carbon stocks in vegetation, active layer, and permafrost, and we assessed the correlation between plant and active layer carbon pools and four environmental correlates — slope, solar insolation, canopy density, and leaf area index ­— at 20 sites. Carbon in the active layer was approximately four times greater than aboveground carbon pools (972 g C m-2), and belowground carbon to 1 m depth was approximately 18 times greater than aboveground carbon pools. Canopy density and slope had a robust positive association with aboveground carbon pools, and soil moisture was positively related to %C in organic, thawed mineral and permafrost soil. Thaw depth was negatively correlated with moss cover and larch biomass, highlighting the importance of vegetation and surface characteristics on permafrost carbon vulnerability. These data suggest that landscape and ecosystem characteristics affect carbon accumulation and storage, but they also play an important role in stabilizing permafrost carbon pools.