Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2002
Publication Date: 11/10/2002
Citation: FRANZLUEBBERS, A.J., STUEDEMANN, J.A. SOIL ORGANIC MATTER STRATIFICATION WITH DEPTH UNDER PASTURES IN THE SOUTHERN PIEDMONT USA. SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA ANNUAL MEETING. 2002. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Soil quality is a concept based on the premise that management can deteriorate, stabilize, or improve soil ecosystem functions. 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 (1) 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 and detoxification of amendments). It is hypothesized that the degree of stratification of soil organic C and N pools with soil depth, expressed as a ratio, could indicate soil quality or soil ecosystem functioning. Stratification ratios allow a wide diversity of soils to be compared on the same assessment scale because of an internal normalization procedure that accounts for inherent soil differences. Grass-based agricultural systems could help improve surface soil organic matter. We describe the effects of forage management on soil organic matter stratification. High stratification ratios under pastures indicate high ecosystem functional capability.