Is forest management a significant source of monoterpenes into the boreal atmosphere?
Abstract. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including terpenoids are emitted into the atmosphere from various natural sources. Damaging the plant tissue is known to strongly increase their monoterpene release. We measured the terpenoid emissions caused by timber felling, i.e. those from stumps and logging residue. The emissions from stumps were studied using enclosures and those from the whole felling area using an ecosystem-scale micrometeorological method, disjunct eddy accumulation (DEA). The compounds analyzed were isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Strong emissions of monoterpenes were measured from both the stumps and from the whole felling area. The emission rate decreased rapidly within a few months after the logging. In addition to fresh logging residue, the results suggest also other strong monoterpene sources may be present in the felling area. These could include pre-existing litter, increased microbial activity and remaining undergrowth. In order to evaluate the possible importance of monoterpenes emitted annually from cut Scots pine forests in Finland, we conducted a rough upscaling calculation. The resulting monoterpene release was approximated to be on the order of 15 kilotonnes per year, which corresponds to about one tenth of the monoterpene release from intact forests in Finland.