Dead organic matter

Methods for estimating carbon stock changes associated with dead organic matter pools are presented in this section for Cropland Remaining Cropland (CC). Methods are provided for two types of dead organic matter pools: 1) dead wood and 2) litter. Chapter 1of this report provides detailed definitions of these pools.

Dead wood is a diverse pool with many practical problems for measuring in the field and associated uncertainties about rates of transfer to litter, soil, or emissions to the atmosphere. Carbon in dead wood is highly variable between stands across the landscape. Amounts of dead wood depend on the time of last disturbance, the amount of input (mortality) at the time of the disturbance, natural mortality rates, decay rates, and management.

Litter accumulation is a function of the annual amount of litterfall, which includes all leaves, twigs and small branches, hay, fruits, flowers, and bark, minus the annual rate of decomposition. The litter mass is also influenced by the time since the last disturbance, and the type of disturbance. Management such as wood and grass harvesting, burning, and grazing dramatically alter litter properties, but there are few studies clearly documenting the effects of management on litter carbon.

In general, croplands will have little or no dead wood, crop residues or litter, with the exception of agroforestry systems which may be accounted under either Cropland or Forest Land, depending upon definitions adopted by countries for reporting.

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