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Piecing together the fragments: elucidating edge effects on forest carbon dynamics

Author(s): Ian A. Smith, Lucy R. Hutyra, Andrew B. Reinmann, Julia K. Marrs, Jonathan Thompson
Year Published: 2018

Forest fragmentation is pervasive throughout the world's forests, impacting growing conditions and carbon (C) dynamics through edge effects that produce gradients in microclimate, biogeochemistry, and stand structure. Despite the majority of global forests being <1 km from an edge, our understanding of forest C dynamics is largely derived from intact forest systems. Edge effects on the C cycle vary by biome in their direction and magnitude, but current forest C accounting methods and ecosystem models generally fail to include edge effects. In the mesic northeastern US, large increases in C stocks and productivity are found near the temperate forest edge, with over 23% of the forest area within 30 m of an edge. Changes in the wind, fire, and moisture regimes near tropical forest edges result in decreases in C stocks and productivity. This review explores differences in C dynamics observed across biomes through a trade‐offs framework that considers edge microenvironmental changes and limiting factors to productivity.

Citation: Smith IA, Hutyra LR, Reinmann AB, Marrs JK, Thompson JR. 2018. Piecing together the fragments: elucidating edge effects on forest carbon dynamics. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (April 4): online. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.1793
Topic(s): Carbon Sequestration, Fire & Climate
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 17579
Record updated: May 24, 2018