Soils hold the third largest pool of carbon, after oceans and the geologic pools (Lal 2008). How we treat forests impacts the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool that we are relying on for climate regulation. The fragmentation of landscapes has led to smaller and smaller forest plots around the world; 20% of all forest area is within 100m of an edge, less than 50% are beyond 500m from a forest edge (Haddad et al., 2015).
Two recent studies outline three steps we can take now to increase the share of SOC stock within forests: First, reverse forest fragmentation by limiting the construction of new roads into forests and converting existing roads (dirt or paved) into restored forests. Second, change management practices to leave in place plant debris. Plant litter increases soil organic carbon. Third, the time to act is now! While the problems outlined above increase over time, so do the solutions with proper planning. SOC increases with the age of urban parks (Linden 2020).
The magnitude and causes of edge effects on soil organic carbon stocks within and across urban to rural forest patches, by Jeehwan Bae, and Youngryel Ryu
Quantifying carbon stocks in urban parks under cold climate conditions, by Linden, L., Riikonen, A., Setala, H., Yli-Pelkonen, V.
Haddad, N. M., Brudvig, L. A., Clobert, J., Davies, K. F., Gonzalez, A., Holt, R. D., Lovejoy, T. E., Sexton, J. O., Austin, M. P., Collins, C. D., Cook, W. M., Damschen, E. I., Ewers, R. M., Foster, B. L., Jenkins, C. N., King, A. J., Laurance, W. F., Levey, D. J., Margules, C. R., Melboourne, B. A., Nichols, A. O., Orrock, J. L., Song, D. X., & Townshend, J. R. (2015). Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems. Science Advances, 1(2), e1500052. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500052.
Jeehwan Bae, and Youngryel Ryu 2021, The magnitude and causes of edge effects on soil organic carbon stocks within and across urban to rural forest patches. Landscape and Urban Planning 215 (2021) 104223
Linden, L., Riikonen, A., Setala, H., Yli-Pelkonen, V. 2020 Quantifying carbon stocks in urban parks under cold climate conditions. Urban Forests & Urban Greening 49 (2020) 126633