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Soil organic carbon (SOC) storage plays a major role in the global carbon cycle and is affected by many factors including land use/management changes (e.g., biofuel production-oriented changes). However, the contributions of various factors to SOC changes are not well understood and quantified. This study was designed to investigate the impacts of changing farming practices, initial SOC levels, and biological enhancement of grain production on SOC dynamics and to attribute the relative contributions of major driving forces (CO2 enrichment and farming practices) using a fractional factorial modeling design. The case study at a crop site in Iowa in the United States demonstrated that the traditional corn-soybean (CS)...
Terrestrial carbon sequestration potential is widely considered as a realistic option for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. However, this potential may be threatened by global changes including climate, land use, and management changes such as increased corn stover harvesting for rising production of cellulosic biofuel. Therefore, it is critical to investigate the dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) at regional or global scale. This study simulated the corn production and spatiotemporal changes of SOC in the U.S. Temperate Prairies, which covers over one-third of the U.S. corn acreage, using a biogeochemical model with multiple climate and land-use change projections. The corn production (either grain yield...
The large land area occupied by arid lands, roughly 36% to 40% globally, underscores the importance for understanding how these ecosystems function in the global carbon cycle. Few studies have directly examined soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics and the effect of vegetation on SOC and microbial community structure in arid ecosystems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of vegetation type on SOC dynamics in an arid, hyperthermic Sonoran Desert ecosystem. We specifically examined the influence of Prosopis velutina (mesquite), Larrea tridentata (creosote), and a combination of Bouteloua barbata, Bouteloua aristidoides, Aristida adscensionis, and Cynodon dactylon (mixed grass) vegetation types on...
Water erosion results in the mobilization and depletion of soil organic carbon (SOC), but studies providing direct experimental evidence of eroded C mineralization and its linkage to the global C cycle are lacking. A study was conducted to determine the mineralization of SOC in runoff from a southwestern Ohio Crosby soil (fine, mixed, mesic Aeric Ochraqualf) that had been under no-till (NT), chisel till (CT) and moldboard plow (MP) for 38 years. To simulate present and future soil erosion conditions, the 0–3 and 5–8 cm soil layers from triplicate soil blocks extracted from each tillage practice were used. Soil layers were transferred to runoff trays and simulated rainfall (30±5 mm h−1) was applied for 1 h. Runoff...
Agricultural residues have been identified as a significant potential resource for bioenergy production, but serious questions remain about the sustainability of harvesting residues. Agricultural residues play an important role in limiting soil erosion from wind and water and in maintaining soil organic carbon. Because of this, multiple factors must be considered when assessing sustainable residue harvest limits. Validated and accepted modeling tools for assessing these impacts include the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation Version 2 (RUSLE2), the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS), and the Soil Conditioning Index. Currently, these models do not work together as a single integrated model. Rather, use of these...
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a biophysical parameter, which is also directly linked to above ground land use and land cover (LULC). Currently changes in LULC and variations in SOC often are studied and modeled separately. However, both are conjoined and should be seen as part of a cascading ecosystem framework. This is not only true for SOC but also for other biophysical parameters which are governed by human activities. At a watershed scale, this relationship is exceptionally important and the focus should be towards studying the impact of LULC change on the levels of SOC in spatially explicit terms. To advance knowledge on this front, we studied transformations of LULC, erosion and SOC from the start of settled...
Land use land cover (LULC) plays an important role in influencing the spatial intensity of water erosion which is the primary governor of horizontal translocation of soil organic carbon (SOC). The fate of redistributed SOC through erosion remains debatable and the mineralization rate of exposed SOC protected in soil aggregates is the major focus of this argument. Cohesive spatially explicit modeling of SOC and erosion can potentially reduce some of the controversy. To this end we simulated erosion/deposition, and photosynthetic (in situ) flux of SOC in a small watershed of ~ 28.42 ha, located in the Big Creek basin of southern Illinois. The main objectives of this research were: (a) to study erosion and deposition...
Ecologists increasingly use plot-scale data to inform research and policy related to regional and global environmental change. For soil chemistry research, scaling from the plot to the region is especially difficult due to high spatial variability at all scales. We used a hierarchical Bayesian model of plot-scale soil nutrient pools to predict storage of soil organic carbon (oC), inorganic carbon (iC), total nitrogen (N), and available phosphorus (avP) in a 7962-km2 area including the Phoenix, Arizona, USA, metropolitan area and its desert and agricultural surroundings. The Bayesian approach was compared to a traditional approach that multiplied mean values for urban mesic residential, urban xeric residential, nonresidential...
Relatively few studies have examined the ecological and biogeochemical effects of livestock grazing in southeastern Utah. In this study, we evaluated how grazing has affected soil organic carbon and nitrogen to a depth of 50 cm in grasslands located in relict and actively-grazed sites in the Canyonlands physiographic section of the Colorado Plateau. We also evaluated differences in plant ground cover and the spatial distribution of soil resources. Results show that areas used by domestic livestock have 20% less plant cover and 100% less soil organic carbon and nitrogen compared to relict sites browsed by native ungulates. In actively grazed sites, domestic livestock grazing also appears to lead to clustered, rather...
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Relatively few studies have examined the ecological and biogeochemical effects of livestock grazing in southeastern Utah. In this study, we evaluated how grazing has affected soil organic carbon and nitrogen to a depth of 50 cm in grasslands located in relict and actively-grazed sites in the Canyonlands physiographic section of the Colorado Plateau. We also evaluated differences in plant ground cover and the spatial distribution of soil resources. Results show that areas used by domestic livestock have 20% less plant cover and 100% less soil organic carbon and nitrogen compared to relict sites browsed by native ungulates. In actively grazed sites, domestic livestock grazing also appears to lead to clustered, rather...
Soil organic C (SOC) and total N (TN) contents play a crucial role in sustaining agricultural production systems. Short-term (≤10-year) management effects on SOC and TN dynamics are often complex and variable. Three experiments were conducted to evaluate short-term tillage and cropping system effects on SOC and TN within the 0–30 cm soil depth across Iowa. The first experiment with no-tillage and chisel plowing treatments was established in 1994 on Clarion-Nicollet-Webster (CNW), Galva-Primghar-Sac (GPS), Kenyon-Floyd-Clyde (KFC), Marshall (M), and Otley-Mahaska-Taintor (OMT) soil associations under a corn (Zea mays L.)–soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) rotation. The second experiment with no-tillage, strip-tillage,...
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These datasets represent a revised national scale estimate of wetland soil carbon stock assessments by improving representation of soil organic carbon densities. This assessment is based on a three-step approach to harmonize survey and point-based data for predicting soil organic carbon density from percent organic carbon alone (or percent organic matter, with conversion), when reliable dry bulk density information is not available. Given issues with survey-level extrapolation of soil pedons into discontinuous hydric soils, quantile, segmented data analysis provides a more accurate spatially explicit soil organic carbon density product. These modeled data leverage spatial and statistical distributions of soil organic...
Analyses of carbon isotope ratios (?13C) in soil organic matter (SOM) and soil respired CO2 provide insights into dynamics of the carbon cycle. ?13C analyses do not provide direct measures of soil CO2 efflux rates but are useful as a constraint in carbon cycle models. In many cases, ?13C analyses allow the identification of components of soil CO2 efflux as well as the relative contribution of soil to overall ecosystem CO2 fluxes. ?13C values provide a unique tool for quantifying historical shifts between C3 and C4 ecosystems over decadal to millennial time scales, which are relevant to climate change and land-use change issues. We identify the need to distinguish between ?13C analyses of SOM and those of soil CO2...
Recent trends of increasing woody vegetation in arid and semiarid ecosystems may contribute substantially to the North American C sink. There is considerable uncertainty, however, in the extent to which woody encroachment alters dryland soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) pools. To date, studies assessing SOC and TN response to woody plant proliferation have not explicitly assessed the variability caused by shrub age or size and subcanopy spatial gradients. These factors were quantified via spatially intensive soil sampling around Prosopis velutina shrubs in a semidesert grassland, using shrub size as a proxy for age. We found that bulk density increased with distance from the bole (P < 0.005) and...
Annual brome grasses, Bromus japonicus and B. tectorum, are common invaders of northern mixed-grass prairie, and have been shown to alter the structure and function of prairie ecosystems, including plant biomass production and litter decomposition. To build on previous findings, our objective was to model the impact of annual brome grasses on soil organic carbon storage as a step towards forecasting ecological change. Specifically, we measured differences in carbon storage between patches dominated by annual bromes and perennial grasses, in addition to evaluating key plant functional characteristics that impact carbon storage. Using the CENTURY model, we simulated high- and low-brome vegetation based on differences...
Simulation models are increasingly used to analyze the impact of agricultural management at the watershed-scale. In this study, the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was tested using long-term (1976–1995) data from two watersheds (W2 and W3) at the USDA Deep Loess Research Station near Treynor, Iowa. The two watersheds were cropped with continuous corn (Zea mays L.) and managed with conventional-tillage at W2 (34.4 ha) and ridge-till at W3 (43.3 ha). The monthly runoff and sediment yield were calibrated for the two watersheds during 1976–1987 by adjusting the curve numbers, curve number index coefficient, RUSLE C factor exponential residue and height coefficients, and erosion control practice...
Upscaling the spatial and temporal changes in carbon (C) stocks and fluxes from sites to regions is a critical and challenging step toward improving our understanding of the dynamics of C sources and sinks over large areas. This study simulated soil organic C (SOC) dynamics within 0–100 cm depth of soils across the state of Iowa in the USA from 1972 to 2007 using the General Ensemble biogeochemical Modeling System (GEMS). The model outputs with variation coefficient were analyzed and assembled from simulation unit to the state scale based upon major land use types at annual step. Results from this study indicate that soils (within a depth of 0–100 cm) in Iowa had been a SOC source at a rate of 190 ± 380 kg C ha−1...


    map background search result map search result map Biogeochemical and ecological impacts of livestock grazing in semi-arid southeastern Utah, USA Harmonizing wetland soil organic carbon datasets to improve spatial representation of 2011 soil carbon stocks in the conterminous United States Biogeochemical and ecological impacts of livestock grazing in semi-arid southeastern Utah, USA Harmonizing wetland soil organic carbon datasets to improve spatial representation of 2011 soil carbon stocks in the conterminous United States