Aboveground vs. Belowground Carbon Stocks in African Tropical Lowland Rainforest

A new paper I co-authored in PLOS One just came online discussing divergence of above- and belowground carbon stocks in different forest types. In short, the study shows that despite similar vegetation, soil and climatic conditions, soil organic carbon stocks in an area with greater tree height (= larger aboveground carbon stock) were only half compared to an area with lower tree height (= smaller aboveground carbon stock).

This suggests that substantial variability in the aboveground vs. belowground C allocation strategy and/or C turnover in two similar tropical forest systems can lead to significant differences in total soil organic C content and C fractions with important consequences for the assessment of the total C stock of the system, with nutrient limitation, especially potassium, as the driver for divergent C allocation.

Congrats to Sebastian Doetterl and Elizabeth Kearsley for pushing this effort.

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