Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): M.D. Coleman; R.E. Dickson; J.G. Isebrands
    Date: 2000
    Source: Plant and Soil 225: 129-139, 2000.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (222 KB)


    Tree root activity, including fine-root production, turnover and metabolic activity are significant components of forest productivity and nutrient cycling. Differences in root activity among forest types are not well known. A 3-year study was undertaken in red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) and hybrid poplar (Populus tristis X P. balsamifera cv `Tristis no. 1') plantations to compare belowground root dynamics. We measured fine-root production, mortality and standing crop, as well as soil CO2 efflux. Pine fine-root production was only 2.9% of that of poplar during three years; 85 pine roots were observed in minirhizotron tubes compared with 4088 poplar roots. Live-root density oscillated seasonally for both species with late winter minimum and autumn maximum. Poplar reached constant maximum live-root length within the first growing season, but pine continued to increase observed fine-root length for three growing seasons. Within the first 100 days following initial appearance, 22% of the pine roots disappeared and 38% of the poplar roots disappeared. Median fine-root longevity of pine was 291 days compared with 149 days for poplar roots. Fine-root longevity increased with depth in the soil, and was greater for roots with initial diameter >0.5 mm. The probability of poplar root death from late February to May was more than three times that in any other season, regardless of root age. Despite the greater poplar root production and live-root length, fine-root biomass and soil CO2 efflux was greater in pine. Greater metabolic activity in the pine stand may be due to greater fine-root biomass or greater heterotrophic respiration.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Coleman, M.D.; Dickson, R.E.; Isebrands, J.G. 2000. Contrasting fine-root production, survival and soil CO2 efflux in pine and poplar plantations. Plant and Soil 225: 129-139, 2000.


    fine-root turnover, hybrid poplar, minirhizotron, red pine, soil respiration

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page