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Carbon sequestration -- Environmental aspects, Pine Barrens (N.J.), Forest management, Forests and forestry -- Fire management


The New Jersey Pine Barrens (NJPB) is the largest forested area along the northeastern coast of the United States. The NJPB are dominated by pine (Pinus spp.) and oak (Quercus spp.) stands that are fragmented and subject to frequent disturbance and forest management. Over long time periods (>50 years), the balance between oak and pine dominance is determined by fire frequency. As a consequence, the ability of the NJPB to sequester carbon may be contingent upon management activities as well as patterns of historic land use. We simulated 100 years of carbon change using three scenarios: (1) contemporary management as reflected in the recent (1991–2006) fire records, (2) an increase in the fire ignitions within the wildland urban interface areas of the NJPB reflecting increased prescribed fires, and (3) a longer response time to wildfires, reflecting a more liberal burning policy by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. We used the LANDIS-II model coupled with CENTURY and the Dynamic Fire and Dynamic Biomass Fuels extensions to estimate forest carbon sequestration based on these three scenarios. Calibration and validation via comparison to monthly flux tower data indicated that the model reasonably captured the timing and magnitude of net ecosystem exchange in the absence of Gypsy moth defoliation (r2 = 0.89). Under all scenarios, our simulations suggest that forests of the NJPB will continue to accumulate carbon over the next 100 years under current climatic conditions. Although above ground net primary productivity, live carbon, and detrital carbon were roughly constant or increased only modestly, soil organic carbon continued to increase through time for all forest types except the highly xeric pine plains. Our simulated changes in management reflected only minor alterations to the fire regime and thus management may have only minor effects on total forest carbon budgets in the immediate future particularly when compared to recovery from historic disturbance patterns.


Published by Springer-Verlag.

One or more authors of this paper were United States Government employees when contributing to this work and it is not subject to copyright in the United States. This is the publisher’s final pdf.



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