|Title||Assessing changes in biomass, productivity, and C and N stores following Juniperus virginiana forest expansion into tallgrass prairie|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2001|
|Authors||Norris, MD, Blair, JM, Johnson, LC, McKane, RB|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Forest Research|
An increase in woody plant abundance in regions historically dominated by grasses is a recent land cover change in grasslands worldwide. In tallgrass prairies of North America, this increase in woody plant cover includes the development of dense stands of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.). To evaluate the consequences of this ongoing land cover change for ecosystem functioning, we developed allometric equations, using data from Kansas and Oklahoma, to estimate aboveground biomass and productivity in closed-canopy redcedar stands. We then applied these equations to three closed-canopy redcedar stands, 3580 years old, which developed on sites formerly dominated by tallgrass prairie in eastern Kansas. Aboveground plant biomass for these redcedar-dominated sites ranged from 114 100 kg/ha for the youngest stand to 210 700 kg/ha for the oldest. Annual aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) ranged from 7250 to 10 440 kg·ha1·year1 for the oldest and younger redcedar stands, respectively. Estimates of ANPP in comparable tallgrass prairie sites in this region average 3690 kg·ha1·year1 indicating a large increase in C uptake and aboveground storage as a result of the change from prairie to redcedar forests. Therefore, the widespread occurrence of redcedars across the woodlandprairie ecotone suggests that this land-cover change may have important consequences for regional net C storage.