Etzold S, Ruehr N, Zweifel R, Dobbertin M, Zingg A, Pluess P, Häsler R, Eugster W, Buchmann N (2011) The carbon balance of two contrasting mountain forest ecosystems in Switzerland: Similar annual trends, but seasonal differences. Ecosystems, 14 (8): 1289-1309. [10.1007/s10021-011-9481-3]


Biomedical and Life Sciences


Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of two contrasting mountain forest types in Switzerland was measured by eddy covariance (EC) measurements at a montane mixed forest, the Lägeren forest, over 5 years (2005–2009), and at a subalpine coniferous forest, the Seehornwald in Davos, over 12 years (1997–2009). NEE was validated against annual carbon (C) storage estimates, based on biometric and soil respiration measurements as well as soil C modeling. Three different approaches were used: (1) calculation of net ecosystem production by quantifying C pools and fluxes, (2) assessment of change in wood biomass and soil C storage (?C), and (3) application of biomass expansion factors. Although biometric estimates were sensitive to assumptions made for each method applied, they agreed well with measured NEE. Comparing 5 years of EC measurements available at both sites during 2005 and 2009 revealed that NEE, gross primary production (GPP), and total ecosystem respiration (TER) were larger at the Lägeren forest compared to the Davos forest, whereas soil respiration and soil C sequestration were of similar magnitudes. Both sites showed similar annual trends for NEE, GPP and TER, but different seasonal courses, due to different responses to environmental conditions (temperature, soil moisture, and radiation). Differences in the magnitude as well as in the seasonality of ecosystem CO 2 exchange could mainly be attributed to tree phenology, productivity, and carbon allocation patterns, which are combined effects of tree type (broad-leaved vs. coniferous trees) and site-specific climatic conditions. Flux differences between the two mountain sites highlight the importance of considering the role of altitude in ecological studies and modeling.

LWF Classification

Network: LWF, Sites: Davos;Laegeren, Category: ISI,