Submitted to: North American Agroforestry Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2005
Publication Date: 6/15/2005
Citation: Cambardella, C.A., Sauer, T.J., Brandle, J.R. 2005. Carbon and nitrogen partitioning in aboveground litter within a mixed-species shelterbelt [CD-ROM]. Rochester, MN. North American Agroforestry Conference.
Technical Abstract: Terrestrial ecosystems can store carbon (C) in living biomass, decomposing litter, and soil. Woody biomass and soil are large potential sinks for atmospheric C, with biomass C being transferred to litter C before entering the soil. Our study was conducted within a shelterbelt located in eastern Nebraska, planted with two rows of eastern red cedar, scotch pine, and eastern cottonwood in 1968. The objective was to quantify aboveground litter C and nitrogen (N) content for samples taken from the shelterbelt in November 2003. We established a 7 x 9 sampling grid with 1.8 m spacing across a section of the shelterbelt on Tomek silt loam. Litter was collected from a 0.25m2 area centered on each grid point. Samples were dried, sorted (worm casts, pine needles, pine cones, insect carapaces, deciduous leaves, sticks, annuals, crop residue, coarse duff and fine duff) and quantified for C and N. Ninety percent of litter C was partitioned into sticks (349 kgC ha-1), pine cones (246 kgC ha-1), and duff (1244 kgC ha-1). Fine duff contained the largest amount of C (861 kgC ha-1). Pine cones and sticks had greater concentrations of C (45.3%C) than duff (24.8%C). Seventy-four percent of litter N was associated with fine (47.4 kgN ha-1) and coarse (16.7 kgN ha-1) duff. High C and N contents in duff were due to accumulation of large amounts of moderately enriched litter with an average C:N ratio of 20.8. Duff C is closely associated with soil and has a high probability of stabilization as soil C.