Submitted to: Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Proceedings
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 under pastures. Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Proceedings. 2002.
Technical Abstract: Soil quality is a concept based on the premise that management can deteriorate, stabilize, or improve soil ecosystem functions. 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. Grassbased agricultural systems could help improve surface soil organic matter. Land management with cattle grazing resulted in stratification ratios that were as high or higher than (1) conservation tillage cropland, (2) haying to remove grass without animal traffic, and (3) natural forestland. Soil organic C and N pools became quickly stratified under pastures following conversion from degraded cropland. Total, particulate, and microbial biomass C pools were equally sensitive to management controlled changes in stratification. High stratification ratios under pastures indicated high ecosystem functional capability.