Soil Organic Carbon is Increased in Mixed-Species Plantations of Eucalyptus and Nitrogen-Fixing Acacia
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Soil organic carbon (soil C) sequestration in forests is often higher under nitrogen (N2)-fixing than under non-N2-fixing tree species. Here, we examined whether soil C could be increased using mixed-species plantations compared to monocultures, which are less productive aboveground than mixtures. In addition, we compared soil C sequestration under N2-fixing trees with non-N2-fixing trees that received N fertilizer. Monocultures of Eucalyptus globulus (E) and the N2-fixing Acacia mearnsii (A) and mixtures of these species were planted in a replacement series: 100%E, 75%E + 25%A, 50%E + 50%A, 25%E + 75%A and 100%A. Soil samples were also collected from fertilized monoculture treatments (100%EFer) of E. globulus (250 kg N ha−1). Total organic C, N and phosphorus were determined at age 8 years at two soil depths (0–10 cm and 10–30 cm) and three density fractions of soil organic matter (SOM) were quantified for 0–5 cm depth. Soil C was highest in the 50%E + 50%A mixed stand and was highly correlated with aboveground biomass, not to the percentage of A. mearnsii in mixtures. This was largely due to soil C at 10–30 cm because there were no treatment effects on soil C at 0–10 cm. All density fractions of SOM at 0–5 cm increased with the percentage of A. mearnsii. In E. globulus monocultures, N fertilization did not increase soil C when compared with unfertilized stands. These results indicate that the inclusion of N2-fixing trees into eucalypt plantations may increase soil C stocks through increased productivity.
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- Soil Organic Carbon is Increased in Mixed-Species Plantations of Eucalyptus and Nitrogen-Fixing Acacia
Volume 16, Issue 1 , pp 123-132
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- soil carbon sequestration
- organic matter fractionation
- nitrogen fixation
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Institute of Silviculture, Freiburg University, Tennenbacherstr. 4, 79106, Freiburg, Germany
- 2. Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 0200, Australia
- 3. Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, The University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, Victoria, 3121, Australia
- 5. National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
- 4. Ministry of Defence, Russell, Australian Capital Territory, 2600, Australia