Soil types influence predictions of soil carbon stock recovery in tropical secondary forests

Pandolfo Paz, Claudia, Goosem, Miriam, Bird, Michael, Preece, Noel, Goosem, Steve, Fensham, Rod, and Laurance, Susan (2016) Soil types influence predictions of soil carbon stock recovery in tropical secondary forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 376. pp. 74-83.

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Tropical forests are major sinks of terrestrial carbon (C) both above- and below-ground. As a consequence their destruction and degradation is considered the second largest anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Also contributing to the changing dynamics of the global carbon cycle is the widespread and significant expansion of secondary forest. Secondary forests that colonise abandoned agricultural lands can potentially recover above-ground C stocks to historical levels in a few decades. However, the dynamics of below-ground C stored as soil C stocks are unaccounted for in several tropical regions. Similarly, although parent materials are known to differ in chemical and physical properties, little is known about the relationships of soil C stocks with environmental predictors and whether they interact with soil types during natural forest regeneration. We investigated whether soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks change with secondary forest age in two contrasting soil types (derived from either basalt or granite). Soil and vegetation parameters were analysed to determine the best predictors of SOC stock changes in secondary forests. SOC stocks from 24 secondary forests (up to 69 years since pasture abandonment) were compared with those from active pastures and mature forests. We found that clay-rich soils (originating from basalt parent material) store higher amounts of SOC, although these stocks remain unchanged as secondary forests matured. In contrast, SOC stocks in granite soils tend to be lower in young secondary forests and increase rapidly to levels comparable to mature forests. Moreover, our analysis indicated that soil pH and woody plant diversity are strong candidates as predictors of SOC stock variations, yet it appears this is within the context of soil type. Our results support the contention that models predicting SOC stocks during forest succession should not rely only on secondary forest age. Instead, predictions of SOC stocks can be improved with the inclusion of basic information on vegetation cover and soil type (especially soil texture).

Item ID: 47682
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-7042
Keywords: soil organic carbon (SOC); regrowth forests; abandoned pastures; wet tropics; Australia
Funders: Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Research Council (ARC), Queensland Herbarium
Projects and Grants: ARC Linkage Grant LP110201093, ARC Future Fellowship
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2017 22:31
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 25%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration @ 25%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961203 Rehabilitation of Degraded Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 50%
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