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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Bunn, Andrew Godard

Second Advisor

Hooper, David U., 1961-

Third Advisor

Homann, Peter S., 1953-


With the strongest climate warming occurring and predicted in the high-latitudes, understanding arctic carbon (C) cycling and the feedback of terrestrial C pools is increasingly important. Arctic terrestrial ecosystems comprise about one-third of the global terrestrial ecosystem C total with most of the C stored in soils, making the response of arctic systems to accelerated warming an issue of global concern. For this research, above- and belowground C stocks were quantified in a small catchment of the Kolyma River watershed in northeastern Siberia, with the primary goal of contributing to a more precise estimate of arctic C pools. Eighteen sites were chosen based on four categories of tree density. We assessed the correlation between soil C, vegetation C, and four environmental correlates -- slope, solar insolation, canopy density, and leaf area index. Carbon in the surface O horizon (2414 ± 391 g C m-2, mean +/- SE) and underlying mineral soil layer to a depth of 10 cm or to the bottom of the active layer, whichever was less, (2231 ± 432 g C m-2 ) were, together, approximately four times that of the aboveground C pools (1128 ± 273 g C m-2 ). Of the environmental correlates considered, canopy cover had the most robust association with aboveground C pools (p < 0.001; r = 0.812), while no environmental variables correlated significantly with soil C pools (p > 0.05). Greater quantities of belowground C storage are consistent with previous studies in arctic terrestrial ecosystems, but a high degree of variability existed in both above- and belowground C pools. High variability will make it more difficult to accurately quantify C pools at larger spatial scales. Additionally, the identification of canopy cover as a robust biotic correlate presents alternatives to directly measuring C stocks, but this relationship needs to be verified elsewhere in the Arctic before using it in lieu of field data collection.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Carbon dioxide sinks--Russia (Federation)--Kolyma River Watershed; Carbon sequestration----Russia (Federation)--Kolyma River Watershed; Global warming--Russia (Federation)--Kolyma River Watershed

Geographic Coverage

Kolyma River Watershed (Russia)




masters theses




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