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fine-root biomass; soil carbon; secondary forests; stand development; dry tropics; costa-rica; nitrogen; dynamics; chronosequence; afforestation


Thousands of kilometers of shelterbelt plantations of Casuarina equisetifolia have been planted to protect the southeast coastline of China. These plantations also play an important role in the regional carbon (C) cycling. In this study, we examined plant biomass increment and C accumulation in four different aged C. equisetifolia plantations in sandy beaches in South China. The C accumulated in the C. equisetifolia plant biomass increased markedly with stand age. The annual rate of C accumulation in the C. equisetifolia plant biomass during 0-3, 3-6, 6-13 and 13-18 years stage was 2.9, 8.2, 4.2 and 1.0 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively. Soil organic C (SOC) at the top 1 m soil layer in these plantations was 17.74, 5.14, 6.93, and 11.87 Mg C ha(-1), respectively, with SOC density decreasing with increasing soil depth. Total C storage in the plantation ecosystem averaged 26.57, 38.50, 69.78, and 79.79 Mg C ha(-1) in the 3, 6, 13 and 18-yrs plantation, with most of the C accumulated in the aboveground biomass rather than in the belowground root biomass and soil organic C. Though our results suggest that C. equisetifolia plantations have the characteristics of fast growth, high biomass accumulation, and the potential of high C sequestration despite planting in poor soil conditions, the interactive effects of soil condition, natural disturbance, and human policies on the ecosystem health of the plantation need to be further studied to fully realize the ecological and social benefits of the C equisetifolia shelterbelt forests in South China.

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Wang, F., Xu, X., Zou, B., Guo, Z., Li, Z., & Zhu, W. (2013). Biomass accumulation and carbon sequestration in four different aged Casuarina equisetifolia coastal shelterbelt plantations in south China. PloS one, 8(10), e77449.

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