Oecologia

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 392–396

Forest-to-pasture conversion influences on soil organic carbon dynamics in a tropical deciduous forest

  • Felipe García-Oliva
  • Isabel Casar
  • Pedro Morales
  • José M. Maass
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00627754

Cite this article as:
García-Oliva, F., Casar, I., Morales, P. et al. Oecologia (1994) 99: 392. doi:10.1007/BF00627754

Abstract

On a global basis, nearly 42% of tropical land area is classified as tropical deciduous forest (TDF) (Murphy and Lugo 1986). Currently, this ecosystem has very high deforestation rates; and its conversion to cattle pasture may result in losses of soil organic matter, decreases in soil fertility, and increases in CO2 flux to the atmosphere. The soil organic matter turnover rate in a TDF after pasture conversion was estimated in Mexico by determining natural abundances of13C. Changes in these values would be induced by vegetation changes from the C3 (forest) to the C4 (pasture) photosynthetic pathway. The rate of loss of remnant forest-soil organic matter (fSOM) was 2.9 t ha−1 year−1 in 7-year-old pasture and decreased to 0.66 t ha−1 year−1 by year 11. For up to 3 years, net fSOM level increased in pastures; this increment can be attributed to decomposition of remnant forest roots. The sand-associated SOM fraction was the most and the silt-associated fraction the least depleted. TDF conversion to pasture results in extremely high rates of loss of remnant fSOM that are higher than any reported for any tropical forest.

Key words

Tropical deciduous forest Soil organic matter δ13Soil carbon fractions Forest-to-pasture conversion 

Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felipe García-Oliva
    • 1
  • Isabel Casar
    • 2
  • Pedro Morales
    • 2
  • José M. Maass
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxicoMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de FísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxicoMéxico

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