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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Carbon Response to Rangeland Vegetation Change: Implications for Management and Monitoring

Authors
item Herrick, Jeffrey
item Monger, H - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Kramer, R - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Tugel, Arlene - USDA-NRCS
item Remmenga, M - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Brown, Joel - USDA-NRCS

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2004
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: We measured soil carbon to a depth of 50 cm across a range of Chihuahuan Desert soils and plant communities in order to (1) determine the effects of rangeland vegetation change and (2) develop cost-effective sampling requirements for quantifying net changes in soil carbon sequestration. We measured soil carbon at 18 points in each of three 1-ha plots in a relatively undegraded, black grama grassland community and in a mesquite shrubland that was a black grama grassland approximately 100 y BP. Carbon and bulk density determinations were completed at 0-1, 1-5, 5-18, and 18-50 cm depths using the core method. Soil carbon in the mesquite duneland plots was generally higher than in the black grama grassland. However, the potential benefits of short-term carbon sequestration must be balanced against the long-term costs of increased soil erosion and the lower value of the mesquite shrublands for forage production and other land uses. Soil carbon variability was greater within plots than among plots. Much of this variability was attributed to plant-interspace differences, suggesting that a stratified sampling protocol may reduce sampling costs.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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