Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Citation: Ecology and Management of California Grasslands, Eds. Mark Stromberg (UC Hastings Natural History Reservation), Jeff Corbin (UCB) and Carla D'Antonio (UCSB) Interpretive Summary: The objective of this chapter is to show how land use history contributes to soil biology and nutrient cycling. The chapter starts with a description of California soils that support grasslands, and considers some of the soil factors that influence the potential vs. actual distribution of grasslands in the state. Next, scenarios of land use change from Monterey County in the Central Coast region are described as a case study of conversions from grassland to cultivated agriculture, and vice-versa. The focus is on relationships between nutrient cycling and the composition of microbial and plant communities. A summary of recent research on using agricultural practices to restore native perennial grassland from annual grassland is also included. The chapter concludes with some broad implications of future land use change on grassland soils and management.
Technical Abstract: Land use history contributes to patterns in soil biology and nutrient cycling. In California, a range of soil types support grasslands, each consisting of specific soil factors that influence the associated grassland and microbial communities. In Monterey County in the Central Coast region, several studies have been conducted that address patterns of land use change, or conversions from grassland to cultivated agriculture, and vice-versa. More specifically, links between plant communities and land use history, nutrient cycling and microbial community composition were established. The use of agricultural practices to restore native perennial grassland from annual grassland was found to also impact microbial community composition and soil carbon dynamics. Broad implications of future land use change on grassland soils and management are also discussed.