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Conversion of biomass to charcoal and the carbon mass balance from a slash-and-burn experiment in a temperate deciduous forest


Eckmeier, E; Rösch, M; Ehrmann, O; Schmidt, M W I; Schier, W; Gerlach, R (2007). Conversion of biomass to charcoal and the carbon mass balance from a slash-and-burn experiment in a temperate deciduous forest. Holocene, 17(4):539 -542.

Abstract

Anthropogenic burning, including slash-and-burn, was deliberately used in (pre)historic Central Europe. Biomass burning has affected the global carbon cycle since, presumably, the early Holocene. The understanding of processes and rates of charcoal formation in temperate deciduous forests is limited, as is the extent of prehistoric human impact on the environment. We took advantage of an experimental burning to simulate Neolithic slash-and-burn, and we quantified the biomass fuel and charcoal produced, determined the resulting distribution of the charcoal size fractions and calculated the carbon mass balance. Two-thirds of the charcoal particles (6.71 t/ha) were larger than 2000m and the spatial distribution of
charcoal was highly variable (15–90% per m2). The conversion rate of the biomass fuel to charcoal mass
was 4.8%, or 8.1% for the conversion of biomass carbon to charcoal carbon, and 58.4 t C/ha was lost during the fire, presumably as a component of aerosols or gases.

Abstract

Anthropogenic burning, including slash-and-burn, was deliberately used in (pre)historic Central Europe. Biomass burning has affected the global carbon cycle since, presumably, the early Holocene. The understanding of processes and rates of charcoal formation in temperate deciduous forests is limited, as is the extent of prehistoric human impact on the environment. We took advantage of an experimental burning to simulate Neolithic slash-and-burn, and we quantified the biomass fuel and charcoal produced, determined the resulting distribution of the charcoal size fractions and calculated the carbon mass balance. Two-thirds of the charcoal particles (6.71 t/ha) were larger than 2000m and the spatial distribution of
charcoal was highly variable (15–90% per m2). The conversion rate of the biomass fuel to charcoal mass
was 4.8%, or 8.1% for the conversion of biomass carbon to charcoal carbon, and 58.4 t C/ha was lost during the fire, presumably as a component of aerosols or gases.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:12 Jun 2009 12:04
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:39
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0959-6836
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683607077041
Official URL:http://hol.sagepub.com/

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