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Invasive insect pests are a common disturbance in temperate forests, but their effects on belowground processes in these ecosystems are poorly understood. This study examined how aboveground disturbance might impact short-term soil carbon flux in a forest impacted by emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) in central New Hampshire, USA. We anticipated changes to soil moisture and temperature resulting from tree mortality caused by emerald ash borer, with subsequent effects on rates of soil respiration and methane oxidation. We measured carbon dioxide emissions and methane uptake beneath trees before, during, and after infestation by emerald ash borer. In our study, emerald ash borer damage to nearby trees did not alter soil microclimate nor soil carbon fluxes. While surprising, the lack of change in soil microclimate conditions may have been a result of the sandy, well-drained soil in our study area and the diffuse spatial distribution of canopy ash trees and subsequent canopy light gaps after tree mortality. Overall, our results indicate that short-term changes in soil carbon flux following insect disturbances may be minimal, particularly in forests with well-drained soils and a mixed-species canopy.

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