The spatial patterns of carbon pool in landscape vary greatly with variation of forest structures and climate conditions. In this field study, the carbon storage in overstory, understory, litter layer of plants and soil carbon in forests was investigated in 26-28 year-old Masson pine (Pinus massoniana) pure and mixed forests along a latitudinal gradient (20–30 °N) crossing Hunan and Guangxi provinces of China, during the period of May 2015–August 2017. We found that the total carbon storage in Masson pine forests ranged 88.92–149.41 Mg/ha, of which 54.03% occurred in aboveground compound and 45.97% occurred belowground. The overall total carbon storage distribution was 34.62–68.72 Mg/ha, 3.82–10.19 Mg/ha, 2.37–3.96 Mg/ha, and 6.06–12.08 Mg/ha in stems, branches, leaves, and roots, respectively. The carbon storage in the overstory of forest stands and forest soils significantly decreased with increasing latitude, while the carbon storage in the understory and litter of the forest stands significantly increased as the latitude increased. The overall carbon storage significantly decreases by 8.26 Mg/ha in Masson pine forests as the latitude increased by one degree. The carbon storage increased by 8.43% in Masson pine mixed forests compared to the pure forest stands after the transformation from the pure forest stands into the mixed forest stands ∼ 15 years later. The results of changes in carbon storage in the studied forests with the latitudinal gradient could be attributed to variations in hydrothermal conditions with changing latitudes. The forest structure with different tree species composition was another important factor regulating carbon storage in forest ecosystems at the same latitude. The results provided a scientific basis for better understanding of latitudinal variation and spatial distribution of carbon storage in Masson pine forest stands with optimal forest stand structures in subtropical region of China.
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Vol. 69 • No. 3-4