Large dead wood is an important structural component of forest ecosystems and a main component of forest carbon cycles. CO2 emissions from dead wood can be used as a proxy for actual decomposition rates. The main drivers of CO2 emission rates for dead wood of temperate European tree species are largely unknown. We applied a novel, closed chamber measurement technique to 360 dead wood logs of 13 important tree species in three regions in Germany. We found that tree species identity was with 71% independent contribution to the model (R2 = 0.62) the most important driver of volume-based CO2 emission rates, with angiosperms having on average higher rates than conifers. Wood temperature and fungal species richness had a positive effect on CO2 emission rates, whereas wood density had a negative effect. This is the first time that positive fungal species richness-wood decomposition relationship in temperate forests was shown. Certain fungal species were associated with high or low CO2 emission rates. In addition, as indicated by separate models for each tree species, forest management intensity, study region, and the water content as well as C and N concentration of dead wood influenced CO2 emission rates.
Kahl, T., Baber, K., Otto, P., Wirth, C., & Bauhus, J. (2015). Drivers of CO2 emission rates from dead wood logs of 13 tree species in the initial decomposition phase. Forests, 6(7), 2484–2504. https://doi.org/10.3390/f6072484