Sukachev Institute of Forest SB RAS, Federal Research Center «Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS», 50/28 Akademgorodok, 660036 Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Landslides are common in high-latitude forest ecosystems that have developed on permafrost. The most vulnerable areas in the permafrost territories of Siberia occur on the south-facing slopes of northern rivers, where they are observed on about 20% of the total area of river slopes. Landslide disturbances will likely increase with climate change especially due to increasing summer-autumn precipitation. These processes are the most destructive natural disturbance agent and lead to the complete removal of pre-slide forest ecosystems (vegetation cover and soil). To evaluate postsliding ecosystem succession, we undertook integrated ecological research at landslides of different age classes along the Nizhnyaya Tunguska River and the Kochechum River (Tura, Krasnoyarsk region, Russia). Just after the event (at the one-year-old site), we registered a drop in soil respiration, a threefold lower microbial respiration rate, and a fourfold smaller mineral soil carbon and nitrogen stock at bare soil (melkozem) plots at the middle location of the site as compared with the non-affected control site. The recovery of disturbed areas began with the re-establishment of plant cover and the following accumulation of an organic soil layer. During the 35-year succession (L1972), the accumulated layer (O-layer) at the oldest site contained similar C- and N stocks to those found at the control sites. However, the mineral soil C- and N stocks and the microbial biomass - even of the oldest landslide area - did not reach the value of these parameters in control plots. Later, the soil respiration level and the eco-physiological status of soil microbiota also recovered due to these changes. This study demonstrates that the recovery after landslides in permafrost forests takes several decades. In addition, the degradation of permafrost due to landslides clearly hinders the accumulation of soil organic matter in the mineral soil.
The dynamics of organic matter accumulated in the soil and main vegetation elements was analyzed for post-logging forest ecosystem succession series in eastern Baikal region. The phytomass was found to allocate up 63 and 50% of carbon in undisturbed Scots pine and fir stands, respectively. The post-logging phytomass contribution to the total carbon pool appeared to decrease down to 16% in Scots pine and 6% in fir stands. In Scots pine stands, carbon storage was determined to account for almost 70% of the initial carbon 60 years after logging. In 50- to 55-year-old fir stands, carbon recovered its initial pool only by 10%. Soil carbon recorded in recently logged Scots pine and fir sites appeared to be 5 and 16 times that accumulated in the phytomass, respectively. The ratio between phytomass carbon and soil organic matter recovered back to the prelogging level in Scots pine stands by the age of 50-60 years. While phytomass carbon also increased in fir stand of the same age, it did not reach the level of the control stand.