How does management affect soil C sequestration and greenhouse gas fluxes in boreal and temperate forests? A review

Raisa Makipaa*, Rose Abramoff, Bartosz Adamczyk, Virginie Baldy, Charlotte Biryol, Michal Bosela, Pere Casals, Jorge Curiel Yuste, Marta Dondini, Sara Filipek, Jordi Garcia-Pausas, Raphael Gros, Erika Gomoryova, Shoji Hashimoto, Mariana Hassegawa, Peter Immonen, Raija Laiho, Honghong Li, Qian Li, Sebastiaan LuyssaertClaire Menival, Taiki Mori, Kim Naudts, Mathieu Santonja, Aino Smolander, Jumpei Toriyama, Boris Tupek, Xavi Ubeda, Pieter Johannes Verkerk, Aleksi Lehtonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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The global forest carbon (C) stock is estimated at 662 Gt of which 45% is in soil organic matter. Thus, comprehensive understanding of the effects of forest management practices on forest soil C stock and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes is needed for the development of effective forest-based climate change mitigation strategies. To improve this understanding, we synthesized peer-reviewed literature on forest management practices that can mitigate climate change by increasing soil C stocks and reducing GHG emissions. We further identified soil processes that affect soil GHG balance and discussed how models represent forest management effects on soil in GHG inventories and scenario analyses to address forest climate change mitigation potential.Forest management effects depend strongly on the specific practice and land type. Intensive timber harvesting with removal of harvest residues/stumps results in a reduction in soil C stock, while high stocking density and enhanced productivity by fertilization or dominance of coniferous species increase soil C stock. Nitrogen fertilization increases the soil C stock and N2O emissions while decreasing the CH4 sink. Peatland hydrology management is a major driver of the GHG emissions of the peatland forests, with lower water level corresponding to higher CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the global warming potential of all GHG emissions (CO2, CH4 and N2O) together can be ten-fold higher after clear-cutting than in peatlands with standing trees.The climate change mitigation potential of forest soils, as estimated by modelling approaches, accounts for stand biomass driven effects and climate factors that affect the decomposition rate. A future challenge is to account for the effects of soil preparation and other management that affects soil processes by changing soil temperature, soil moisture, soil nutrient balance, microbial community structure , processes, hydrology and soil oxygen concentration in the models. We recommend that soil monitoring and modelling focus on linking processes of soil C stabilization with the functioning of soil microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120637
Number of pages24
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

This review has been supported by the grant Holistic management practices, modelling and monitoring for European forest soils – HoliSoils (EU Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement No 101000289) and the Academy of Finland Fellow project (330136, B. Adamczyk). In addition to the HoliSoils consortium partners, Dr. Abramoff contributed on this study and her work was supported by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Data Availability Statement

This is review article and published peer reviewed articles are used as a data in this study


  • Forest fertilization
  • Forest fire management
  • Forest soil carbon management
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Harvesting practices
  • Peatland hydrology management


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