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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluating Soil Carbon Pools Using Fallout Cesium

Authors
item Ritchie, Jerry
item Kimble, J - USDA, NRCS
item Samson-Liebig, S - USDA, NRCS
item Follett, Ronald

Submitted to: Abstract of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 30, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The objective of this research was to evaluate soil carbon and soil erosion on native, cropped, and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in the Great Plains using radioactive fallout Cesium-137 (Cs-137). Soil profiles were sampled on the same mapping unit with similar soils and slopes from 14 sites in the Great Plains from the Canadian border States to the Texas Panhandle. CRP sites were at 5 to 10 years old. In the A horizon of the soil profiles, native sites had significantly higher carbon and Cs-137 content and lower erosion rates than the cropped and CRP sites. There were no significant differences between the cropped and CRP sites. Soil carbon and Cs-137 was significantly lower at the Texas/Oklahoma sample sites than for sample sites located in the Northern latitudes. There were no significant differences between Colorado/Nebraska sites and Minnesota/North Dakota sites in soil carbon and Cs-137. Cs-137 concentration was significantly related to total soil carbon, soil organic carbon, and soil erosion. This study indicates that Cs-137 measurements may be a useful tool for assessing soil quality and soil carbon content.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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