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Tree Physiol. 1999 Oct 1;19(12):815-822.

Above- and belowground biomass and primary productivity of a Larix gmelinii stand near Tura, central Siberia.

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Tohoku Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Nabeyashiki 72, Shimokuriyagawa, Morioka, 020-0123, Japan.


We assessed above- and belowground biomass and net primary production (NPP) of a mature Larix gmelinii (Rupr.) Rupr. forest (240-280 years old) established on permafrost soils in central Siberia. Specifically, we investigated annual carbon budgets in roots in relation to root system development and availability of soil resources. Total stand biomass estimated by allometry was about 39 Mg per ha. Root biomass (17 Mg per ha) comprised about 43% of total biomass. Coarse root (>/= 5 mm in diameter) biomass was about twice that of fine roots (< 5 mm). The aboveground biomass/root biomass ratio (T/R) of the larch stand was about unity, which is much less than that of other boreal and subalpine conifer forests. The proportion of fine roots in total root biomass (35%) was relatively high compared with other cold-climate evergreen conifer forests. Total NPP, defined as the sum of annual biomass increment of woody parts and needle biomass, was estimated to be 1.8 Mg per ha per year. Allocation of total NPP to needle production was 56%. The proportion of total NPP in belowground production (27%) was less than for evergreen taiga forests. However, belowground NPP was probably under-estimated because root mortality was excluded. We conclude that L. gmelinii trees invested annual carbon gains largely into needle production or roots, or both, at the expense of growth of aboveground woody parts. This carbon allocation pattern, which resulted in the construction of exploitative root networks, appeared to be a positive growth response to the nutrient-poor permafrost soil of central Siberia.

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