Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2006
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
Citation: Ritchie, J.C., McCarty, G.W., Venteris, E.R., Kaspar, T.C. 2006. Geomorphic controls of soil and carbon redistribution across an agricultural landscape [abstract]. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Abstract No. B51B-309.
Patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) vary widely across the landscape leading to large uncertainties in the SOC budget especially for agricultural landscapes where water, tillage, and wind erosion redistributes soil and SOC. It is often assumed that soil erosion results in a loss of SOC from the agricultural ecosystem but recent studies indicate that soil erosion and its subsequent redistribution within fields can stimulate SOC sequestration in agricultural fields. This study investigates the relationship between soil and SOC redistribution patterns in relationship to geomorphic position in two tilled agricultural fields using the fallout 137Cesium technique to measure soil redistribution. Cesium-137 and SOC concentrations in agricultural soils are significantly correlated in our study areas. Hillslope areas (eroding) have significantly less SOC than soils in toe slope areas (deposition). SOC decreased as gradient slope increases and soils on concave slopes had higher SOC than soils on convex slopes. These data suggest that soil redistribution patterns and topographic patterns may be used to help understand SOC dynamics on agricultural landscapes. Different productivity and oxidation rates of SOC of eroded versus deposited soils also contribute to SOC spatial patterns. However, the strong significant relationships between the patterns of soil redistribution and SOC concentrations in agricultural soils suggest that they are moving along similar physical pathways in these systems. Our study also indicates that geomorphic position is important for understanding soil and SOC movement and redistribution patterns within a field or watershed. Such information can help develop and implement management systems to increase SOC in agricultural ecosystems.