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Forest soil carbon is threatened by intensive biomass harvesting

Forests play a key role in the carbon cycle as they store huge quantities of organic carbon, most of which is stored in soils, with a smaller part being held in vegetation. While the carbon storage capacity of forests is influenced by forestry, the long-term impacts of forest managers’ decisions on soil organic carbon (SOC) remain unclear. Using a meta-analysis approach, we showed that conventional biomass harvests preserved the SOC of forests, unlike intensive harvests where logging residues were harvested to produce fuelwood. Conventional harvests caused a decrease in carbon storage in the forest floor, but when the whole soil profile was taken ...