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Research Project: Enabling Management Response of Southeastern Agricultural Crop and Pasture Systems to Climate Change

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Species and media effects on soil carbon dynamics in the landscape: opportunities for climate change mitigation from urban landscape plantings

Author
item MARBLE, S - Auburn University
item Prior, Stephen - Steve
item Runion, George
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item GILLIAM, C - Auburn University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2016
Publication Date: 3/23/2016
Citation: Marble, S.C., Prior, S.A., Runion, G.B., Torbert III, H.A., Gilliam, C.H. 2016. Species and media effects on soil carbon dynamics in the landscape: opportunities for climate change mitigation from urban landscape plantings [abstract]. University of Florida/IFAS, Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology Urban Landscape Summit, March 23, 2016, Gainesville, Florida. http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/clce/pdf/meetings/urban_summit_2016_specialist_presentations.pdf

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Most scientists now agree that climate change is occurring as a direct result of human activities. Agricultural production has been shown to be a major emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; however, horticulture production is unique in that it also has the potential to serve as a major carbon (C) sink. The objective of this study was to determine C sequestration potential from woody ornamental plants in urban landscape plantings. Three species [cleyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera Thunb. ‘Conthery’), Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica L.), and loropetalum (Loropetalum chinensis Oliv.‘Ruby’) were container-grown for one growing season in 2008 using either pinebark (PB), clean chip residual (CCR) or WholeTree (WT) as potting substrate and then transplanted into the landscape in December 2008. An Automated Carbon Efflux System (ACES) was used to monitor soil CO2 efflux from November 2010 through November 2011 in each species and substrate combination. Changes in soil C levels as a result of potting substrate were assessed in 2009 and 2011, and plant biomass was determined at study conclusion. Results showed that soil CO2-C efflux was generally similar among all species and substrates, with few simple or main effects observed throughout the study. Soil analysis showed most plots with PB contained higher levels of soil C in both 2009 and 2011, suggesting PB is slower to decompose than CCR or WT, and consequently has greater C storage potential than the other two substrates. Plant biomass data show plants grew similar regardless of original potting substrate. Results showed that all species and substrate combinations resulted in a net C gain; however plants grown in PB substrate had greater C sequestration potential due to the longevity of PB following transplanting.