Contemporary carbon stocks of mineral forest soils in the Swiss Alps
Soil organic carbon (SOC) has been identified as the main globalterrestrial carbon reservoir, but considerable uncertainty remains as toregional SOC variability and the distribution of C between vegetationand soil. We used gridded forest soil data (8–km × 8–km)representative of Swiss forests in terms of climate and forest typedistribution to analyse spatial patterns of mineral SOC stocks alonggradients in the European Alps for the year 1993. At stand level, meanSOC stocks of 98 t C ha−1 (N = 168,coefficient of variation: 70%) were obtained for the entiremineral soil profile, 76 t C ha−1 (N =137, CV: 50%) in 0–30 cm topsoil, and 62 t Cha−1 (N = 156, CV: 46%) in0–20 cm topsoil. Extrapolating to national scale, we calculatedcontemporary SOC stocks of 110 Tg C (entire mineral soil, standarderror: 6 Tg C), 87 Tg C (0–30 cm topsoil, standarderror: 3.5 Tg C) and 70 Tg C (0–20 cm topsoil, standarderror: 2.5 Tg C) for mineral soils of accessible Swiss forests(1.1399 Mha). According to our estimate, the 0–20 cm layers ofmineral forest soils in Switzerland store about half of the Csequestered by forest trees (136 Tg C) and more than five times morethan organic horizons (13.2 Tg C).
Figures & Tables