Soil carbon response to rangeland vegetation change: Implications for management and monitoring

TitleSoil carbon response to rangeland vegetation change: Implications for management and monitoring
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHerrick JE, H. Monger C, Kramer R., Tugel A.J., Remmenga M.D., Brown J.
Conference NameSoil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Conference LocationSeattle, WA
ARIS Log Number170971
Keywordscost-effective, rangeland vegetation change, sampling protocol, sampling requirements, soil carbon response
AbstractWe measured soil carbon to a depth of 50 cm across a range of Chihuahuan Desert soils and plant communities in order to, (1) determine the effects of rangeland vegetation change, and (2) develop cost-effective sampling requirements for quantifying net changes in soil carbon sequestration. We measured soil carbon at 18 points in each of three one-ha plots in a relatively undegraded black grama grassland community and in a mesquite shrubland that was a black grama grassland approximately 100 y BP. Carbon and bulk density determinations were completed at 0-1, 1-5, 5-18 and 18-50 cm depths using the core method. Soil carbon in the mesquite duneland plots was generally higher than in the black grama grassland. However, the potential benefits of short-term carbon sequestration must be balanced against the long-term costs of increased soil erosion and the lower value of the mesquite shrublands for forage production and other land uses. Soil carbon variability was greater within plots than among plots. Much of this variability was attributed to plant-interspace differences, suggesting that a stratified sampling protocol may reduce sampling costs.