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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon Changes in Turfgrass Systems Using the Century Model

Authors
item Bandaranayake, W - CSU
item Qian, Y - CSU
item Parton, W - CSU
item Ojima, D - CSU
item Follett, Ronald

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 2003
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: CENTURY simulations indicate that turfgrass systems serve as a sink for atmospheric carbon for ~30-40 years after establishment at ~ 0.9 - 1.2 Mg ha-1 yr-1. However, to consider the net impact of urban grassland on the atmosphere's greenhouse effect, we need to consider other greenhouse gases (mainly N2O and CH4) in addition to soil C sequestration. Additional work is needed to evaluate the other greenhouse gases fluxes in turfgrass systems. Model predictions of organic carbon accumulation compared reasonably well with compiled historical soil organic C data, suggesting that Century is able to simulate SOC changes and carbon sequestration in managed turfgrass scenarios. It may be further used to predict how management, climates, soils, and species selection influence soil C dynamics. Information on these aspects is needed so that turfgrass managers can choose the management options for increasing carbon sequestration.

Technical Abstract: The high productivity and the lack of severe soil disturbances could increase the capacity of turfgrass to sequester atmospheric carbon (C). The CENTURY simulation model offers an opportunity to predict long-term soil organic carbon (SOC) trends based on mathematical representations of carbon-cycling processes in the soil-plant systems. The objectives of this study were: 1) to evaluate the ability and effectiveness of the CENTURY model to simulate the long-term SOC dynamics in highly managed turfgrass ecosystems and 2) to simulate long-term turfgrass carbon sequestration potential with the CENTURY model. CENTURY simulations of turf sites near Denver and Fort Collins Colorado indicate that turfgrass systems can serve as an important sink of atmospheric carbon following establishment. Model estimates are that 23 to 32 Mg ha-1 of SOC were sequestered in the 0-20 cm below soil surface after about 30 years. Historic soil testing data from parts of 15 golf courses with age ranging from 1 to 45 years were used to compare with the simulated results. Model predictions of organic carbon accumulation compared reasonably well with observed SOC, with regression coefficients of 0.67 for fairways and 0.87 for putting greens. Our results suggest that CENTURY can be used to simulate SOC changes in turfgrass systems and has the potential to compare carbon sequestration under various turf management conditions.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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