Articles | Volume 13, issue 5
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-1537-2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-1537-2016
Research article
 | 
11 Mar 2016
Research article |  | 11 Mar 2016

Time since death and decay rate constants of Norway spruce and European larch deadwood in subalpine forests determined using dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating

Marta Petrillo, Paolo Cherubini, Giulia Fravolini, Marco Marchetti, Judith Ascher-Jenull, Michael Schärer, Hans-Arno Synal, Daniela Bertoldi, Federica Camin, Roberto Larcher, and Markus Egli

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Short summary
The timescales involved in the decay of coarse woody debris (CWD) and related chemical components of spruce and larch in Alpine forests are largely unknown. Dendrochronology and 14C dating were used to assess time and rates. Distinct differences between tree species occur only at an advanced stage of decay. Larch CWD reaches an age of 210 years and spruce 77 years. Using this approach, the half-lives of cellulose (21 yr for spruce and 50 yr for larch) and lignin (> 100 yr) could be determined.
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