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Title: Accumulation of organic carbon in chernozems (mollisols) under Shelterbelts in Russia and the United States

item CHENDEV, YURY - Belgorod State University
item Sauer, Thomas
item GENNADIEV, ALEXANDER - Moscow State University
item NOVYKH, LARISA - Belgorod State University
item PETIN, ALEXANDR - Belgorod State University
item PETINA, VALENTINA - Belgorod State University
item ZAZDRAVNYKH, E - Belgorod State University
item BURRAS, C - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Eurasian Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2014
Publication Date: 1/4/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Chendev, Y.G., Sauer, T.J., Gennadiev, A.N., Novykh, L.L., Petin, A.N., Petina, V.I., Zazdravnykh, E.A., Burras, C.L. 2015. Accumulation of organic carbon in chernozems (mollisols) under shelterbelts in Russia and the United States. Eurasian Soil Science. 48(1):43-53. DOI: 10.1134/S1064229315010032.

Interpretive Summary: Land use change has important and complex effects on soil properties that are now often addressed by international research teams. The planting of tree windbreaks on former cropland is a practice that has been used to alter the local microclimate to improve crop production and to control wind erosion. The objective of this project was to measure changes in soil organic matter beneath tree windbreaks in Russia and the U.S. Soil pits and cores were prepared in crop fields and underneath the tree windbreaks at three sites in Russia and one in the U.S. These sites provided a range of climate condtions from warm and drier to cool and moist. The depth of the dark, organic-rich surface horizons were measured and the concentration of carbon in the soil determined with laboratory analyses. The results showed that organic matter to a depth of 1 m in the soil increased at all locations compared to the adjacent crop fields. The amount of increase was progressively larger with cooler and more moist conditions. This relationship between climate and rate of soil organic matter accumulation can now be used to predict carbon storage with tree planting in the future. This research is of interest to scientists and policymakers interested in using agroforestry practices for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Technical Abstract: In modern soil science, one of the most important trends is in research, evaluation and analysis of anthropogenic transformation of soils and soil cover of the Earth and its regions. The complex and interdisciplinary nature of the research problem of anthropogenic transformation of soils and their changes over the time are increasingly forcing the conduct of these studies by international research teams to carry out a comparative analysis of the geographical, anthropogenic impacts on soils of remote geographical regions. The objective of this work is to identify and to analyze changes in soil organic matter stocks for meadow-steppe and meadow landscapes within the forest-steppe zone of the Northern Continents (North America and Europe) as a result of contrasting land use in form of agricultural cultivation and the creation of tree windbreaks. Fifty five year-old windbreaks on chernozems in European Russia had an average annual rate of accumulation of carbon stocks in soil organic matter (0-100 cm layer) of 0.76, 1.07, and 1.60 tonnes/ha for Kamennaya Steppe, Streletskaya Steppe, and Yamskaya Steppe, respectively with an average of 1.14 tonnes / ha for all locations. Over the 19-year period of artificial afforestation growth near Huron, South Dakota USA, the average annual rate of carbon accumulation of organic matter in the surface meter of a mollisol was 2.07 tonnes/ha. Soil beneath trees exhibited increased carbon concentrations and depth of organic matter-enriched surface horizons compared to adjacent crop fields. The planting of tree windbreaks in agricultural fields have great potential to sequester carbon in the soil and biomass and also provide additional ecosystem services including local climate modification.