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Land use effects on soil carbon fractions in the southeastern United States. II. changes in soil carbon fractions along a forest to pasture chronosequence

Conant, Richard T., Six, Johan, & Paustian, Keith (2004) Land use effects on soil carbon fractions in the southeastern United States. II. changes in soil carbon fractions along a forest to pasture chronosequence. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 40(3), pp. 194-200.

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Abstract

Since land use change can have significant impacts on regional biogeochemistry, we investigated how conversion of forest and cultivation to pasture impact soil C and N cycling. In addition to examining total soil C, we isolated soil physiochemical C fractions in order to understand the mechanisms by which soil C is sequestered or lost. Total soil C did not change significantly over time following conversion from forest, though coarse (250-2,000 mum) particulate organic matter C increased by a factor of 6 immediately after conversion. Aggregate mean weight diameter was reduced by about 50% after conversion, but values were like those under forest after 8 years under pasture. Samples collected from a long-term pasture that was converted from annual cultivation more than 50 years ago revealed that some soil physical properties negatively impacted by cultivation were very slow to recover. Finally, our results indicate that soil macroaggregates turn over more rapidly under pasture than under forest and are less efficient at stabilizing soil C, whereas microaggregates from pasture soils stabilize a larger concentration of C than forest microaggregates. Since conversion from forest to pasture has a minimal impact on total soil C content in the Piedmont region of Virginia, United States, a simple C stock accounting system could use the same base soil C stock value for either type of land use. However, since the effects of forest to pasture conversion are a function of grassland management following conversion, assessments of C sequestration rates require activity data on the extent of various grassland management practices.

Impact and interest:

26 citations in Scopus
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21 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 37776
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Forest to pasture conversion - Soil carbon - Carbon fractions
DOI: 10.1007/s00374-004-0754-2
ISSN: 0178-2762
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS (050100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > SOIL SCIENCES (050300)
Divisions: Past > Institutes > Institute for Sustainable Resources
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Springer
Copyright Statement: The original publication is available at SpringerLink http://www.springerlink.com
Deposited On: 08 Oct 2010 11:18
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 03:29

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