Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 9;13(1):14909. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-42091-4.
Boreal forests sequester and store vast carbon (C) pools that may be subject to significant feedback effects induced by climatic warming. The boreal landscape consists of a mosaic of forests and peatlands with wide variation in total C stocks, making it important to understand the factors controlling C pool sizes in different ecosystems. We therefore quantified the total C stocks in the organic layer, mineral soil, and tree biomass in 430 plots across a 68 km2 boreal catchment. The organic layer held the largest C pool, accounting for 39% of the total C storage; tree and mineral C pools accounted for 38% and 23%, respectively. The size of the soil C pool was positively related to modelled soil moisture conditions, especially in the organic soil layer (R2 = 0.50). Conversely, the tree C pool exhibited a unimodal relationship: storage was highest under intermediate wetness conditions. The magnitude and variation in the total soil C stocks observed in this work were comparable to those found at the national level in Sweden, suggesting that C accumulation in boreal landscapes is more sensitive to local variation resulting primarily from differences in soil moisture conditions than to regional differences in climate, nitrogen deposition, and parent material.