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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL ORGANIC MATTER AND NUTRIENT CYCLING TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN USA Title: Depth distribution of soil organic carbon as a signature of soil quality

Author
item Franzluebbers, Alan

Submitted to: World Congress of Soil Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2009
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.19swcs.org.au
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2010. Depth distribution of soil organic carbon as a signature of soil quality. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, August 1-6, 2010, Brisbane, Australia. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Soil organic matter is a key component of soil quality that sustains many key soil functions by providing the energy, substrates, and biological diversity to support biological activity, which affects aggregation (important for habitat space, oxygen supply, and preventing soil erosion), infiltration (important for leaching, runoff, and crop water uptake), and decomposition (important for nutrient cycling). A scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Watkinsville Georgia re-analyzed historical soil-survey profiles collected from throughout Georgia to mathematically describe the depth distribution of soil organic carbon. The rapid decline in soil organic carbon with depth can be described as a key characteristic of many soils throughout the southeastern USA. Conservation land use (pasture and forest) was shown to positively impact the stock and stratification of soil organic carbon throughout the soil profile. The findings of this evaluation have implications for millions of landowners throughout the southeastern USA as to how they can effectively manage soils to increase soil fertility, reduce water pollution, and help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through soil organic carbon sequestration with conservation practices.

Technical Abstract: Soil organic matter is a key component of soil quality that sustains many key soil functions by providing the energy, substrates, and biological diversity to support biological activity, which affects aggregation (important for habitat space, oxygen supply, and preventing soil erosion), infiltration (important for leaching, runoff, and crop water uptake), and decomposition (important for nutrient cycling). A scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Watkinsville Georgia re-analyzed historical soil-survey profiles collected from throughout Georgia to mathematically describe the depth distribution of soil organic carbon. The rapid decline in soil organic carbon with depth can be described as a key characteristic of many soils throughout the southeastern USA. Conservation land use (pasture and forest) was shown to positively impact the stock and stratification of soil organic carbon throughout the soil profile. The findings of this evaluation have implications for millions of landowners throughout the southeastern USA as to how they can effectively manage soils to increase soil fertility, reduce water pollution, and help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through soil organic carbon sequestration with conservation practices.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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