Advertisement

Soil organic carbon changes and distribution in cultivated and restored grassland soils in Saskatchewan

  • J. D. J. Nelson
  • J. J. Schoenau
  • S. S. Malhi
Research Article

Abstract

The impacts of grassland restoration on amounts, forms and distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) were examined in paired cultivated and restored grassland catenae of the Missouri Coteau region in south-central Saskatchewan, Canada. Total SOC (0–15 cm depth) and light fraction organic carbon (LFOC) (0–7.5 cm) contents were determined in paired catenae in upland areas, and in the surface (0–15 cm) and at depth (>15 cm) in the wetland fringe areas. Mass of SOC was higher in the restored grassland catenae than in the cultivated equivalents. In both the cultivated and restored grassland catenae at the three sites, footslope positions consistently had a higher mass of SOC. However, the shoulder positions showed the greatest response in soil C sequestration to grass seed-down, with a 1.4–2.9 Mg ha−1 year−1 SOC increase apparent over an approximately eight-year period. The mass of LFOC and the proportion of SOC comprised of LFOC was also higher in the restored grassland, reflective of higher recent C inputs. Rates of C sequestration in the Missouri Coteau based on SOC differences in the paired comparisons were estimated to be 0.3–2.9 Mg C ha−1 year−1, depending upon site and slope position. In the wetland fringe region of the landscape, the three sites also had higher surface or subsurface SOC in the grassland restoration. In general, SOC changes at depth (below 15 cm) in the restored grasslands appeared to be less consistent than changes in SOC in the surface 0–15 cm soil. In conclusion, the findings suggest that a switch to permanent cover on these soils will significantly increase C sequestered in the soil.

Keywords

Cultivated land Light fraction organic C Restored grassland Soil Total organic C 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Ducks Unlimited, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Center for Studies in Agriculture, Law and the Environment for financial support, R. Farrell and K. Van Rees for advice and revisions, and Tom King, Pam Clothier, T. Wu and Jeremy Nelson for technical help.

References

  1. Alvarez CR, Alvarez R, Gigera MA, Lavado RS (1998) Associations between organic matter fractions and the active soil microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 30:767–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biederbeck VO, Janzen HH, Campbell CA, Zentner RP (1994) Labile soil organic matter as influenced by cropping practices in an arid environment. Soil Biol Biochem 26:1647–1656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowman RA, Reeder JD, Lober RW (1990) Changes in soil properties in a central plains rangeland soil after 3, 20 and 60 years of cultivation. Soil Sci 150:851–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bremer E, Janzen HH, Johnston AM (1994) Sensitivity of total, light fraction and mineralizable organic matter to management practices in a Lethbridge soil. Can J Soil Sci 74:131–138Google Scholar
  5. Campbell CA, Lafond GP, Biederbeck VO, Wen G, Schoenau J, Hahn D (1999) Seasonal trends in soil biochemical attributes: effects of crop management on a Black chernozem. Can J Soil Sci 79:85–87Google Scholar
  6. Carter MR, Gregorich EG, Angers DA, Donald RC, Bolinder MA (1998) Organic C and N storage, and organic C fractions in adjacent and forested soils of eastern Canada. Soil Tillage Res 47:253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cihacek LJ, Ulmer MG (1998) Effects of tillage on profile soil carbon distribution in the Northern Great Plains of the US. In: Lal R, Kimble J, Follett R, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: management of carbon sequestration in soil. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 83–91Google Scholar
  8. Dumanski J, Desjardins RL, Tarnocai C, Monreal C, Gregorich EG, Kirkwood V, Campbell CS (1998) Possibilities for future carbon sequestration in Canadian agriculture in relation to land use changes. Clim Change 40:81–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellert BH, Bettany JR (1995) Calculation of organic matter and nutrients stored in soils under contrasting management regimes. Can J Soil Sci 75:529–538Google Scholar
  10. Gregorich EG, Anderson DW (1985) Effects of cultivation and erosion on soils of four toposequences in the Canadian Prairies. Geoderma 38:343–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gregorich EG, Ellert BH (1993) Light fraction and macroorganic matter in mineral soils. In: Carter MR (ed) Soil sampling methods of analysis. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 397–405Google Scholar
  12. Gregorich EG, Janzen HH (1996) Storage of soil carbon in the light fraction and macroorganic matter. In: Carter MR, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: structure and organic matter storage in agricultural soils. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 167–190Google Scholar
  13. Gregorich EG, Carter MR, Angers DA, Monreal CM, Ellert BH (1994) Towards a minimum data set to assess soil organic matter quality in agricultural soils. Can J Soil Sci 74:367–385Google Scholar
  14. Huggins DR, Allan DL, Gardner JC, Karlen DL, Bezdicek DF, Rosek MJ, Alms MJ, Flock M, Miller, Staben ML (1998a) Enhancing carbon sequestration in CRP-managed land. In: Lal R, Kimble J, Follett R, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: management of carbon sequestration in soils. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 323–334Google Scholar
  15. Huggins DR, Buyanovsky GA, Wagner GH, Brown JR, Darmody RG, Peck TR, Lesoing GW, Vanotti MB, Bundy LG (1998b) Soil organic C in the tallgrass prairie-derived region of the corn belt: effects of long-term crop management. Soil Tillage Res 47:219–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Izaurralde RC, McGIll WB, Bryden A, Graham S (1998) Scientific challenges in developing a plan to predict and verify carbon storage in Canadian prairie soils. In: Lal R, Kimble J, Follett R, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: management of carbon sequestration in soil. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 433–446Google Scholar
  17. Janzen HH, Campbell CA, Izzaurralde RC, Ellert BH, Juma N, McGill WB, Zentner RP (1998) Management effects on soil C storage on the Canadian prairies. Soil Tillage Res 47:181–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jenkinson D (1971) Studies on the decomposition of C14 labeled organic matter in soil. Soil Sci 111:64–70Google Scholar
  19. LECO (1987) CR-12 Carbon system instruction manual. Leco Corporation, Joseph, MI, USAGoogle Scholar
  20. Malhi SS, Brandt S, Gill KS (2003) Cultivation and grass type effects on light fraction and total organic C and N in a Dark Brown Chernozemic soil. Can J Soil Sci 83:145–153Google Scholar
  21. McGill WB, Dormaar JF and Reinl-Dwyer E (1988) New perspectives on soil organic matter quality, quantity, and dynamics on the Canadian Prairies. In: Proceedings Canadian Society of Soil Science and Canadian Society of Extension Joint Symposium, land degradation: assessment and insight into a Western Canadian problem. August 23, 1988, Agricultural Institute of Canada, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, pp 30–48Google Scholar
  22. Mensah F, Schoenau JJ, Malhi SS (2003) Soil carbon changes in cultivated and excavated land converted to grasses in east-central Saskatchewan. Biogeochem 63:85–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nyborg M, Solberg ED, Malhi SS, Izaurralde RC (1995) Fertilizer N, crop residue and tillage alter soil C and N content in a decade. In: Lal R, Kimble J, Levine E, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: soil management and greenhouse effect. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 93–99Google Scholar
  24. Paustian K, Robertson GP, Elliott ET (1995) Management impacts on carbon storage and gas fluxes (CO2, CH4) in mid-latitude cropland. In: Lal R, Kimble J, Levine E, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: soil management and greenhouse effect. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp 61–83Google Scholar
  25. Paustian K, Amdren O, Janzen HH, Lal R, Smith P, Tian G, Tiessen H, Van-Noordwijk M, Woomer PL (1997) Agricultural soils as a sink to mitigate CO2 emissions. Soil Use Manage 13:230–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paustian K, Cole CV, Sauerbeck D, Sampson N (1998) CO2 mitigation by agriculture: An overview. Clim Change 40:135–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pennock DJ, Anderson DW, deJong E (1994) Landscape-scale changes indicators of soil quality due to cultivation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Geoderma 64:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reeder JD, Schuman GE, Bowman RA (1998) Soil C and N changes on conservation reserve programs in the Central Great Plains. Soil Tillage Res 47:339–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schlesinger WH (1997) Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change, 2nd edn. Academic Press, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  30. Six J, Elliott ET, Paustian K, Doran JW (1998) Aggregation and soil organic matter accumulation in cultivated and native grassland soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 62:1367–1377Google Scholar
  31. Staben ML, Bezdicek DF, Smith JL, Fauci MF (1997) Assessment of soil quality in conservation reserve program and wheat-fallow soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 61:124–130Google Scholar
  32. Wang D, Anderson DW (1998) Direct measurements of organic C content in soils by the LECO CR-12 Carbon Analyizer. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 29:15–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yang XM, Wander MM (1999) Tillage effects on soil organic carbon distribution and storage in a silt loam soil in Illinois. Soil Tillage Res 52:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. J. Nelson
    • 1
  • J. J. Schoenau
    • 1
  • S. S. Malhi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaMelfortCanada

Personalised recommendations