Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Controls on Soil Organic Carbon Stocks and Turnover Among North American Ecosystems

Douglas A. Frank, Alyssa W. Pontes and Karis J. McFarlane
Ecosystems
Vol. 15, No. 4 (June 2012), pp. 604-615
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41505992
Page Count: 12
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
Controls on Soil Organic Carbon Stocks and Turnover Among North American Ecosystems
Preview not available

Abstract

Despite efforts to understand the factors that determine soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in terrestrial ecosystems, there remains little information on how SOC turnover time varies among ecosystems, and how SOC turnover time and C input via plant production, differentially contribute to regional patterns of SOC stocks. In this study, we determined SOC stocks (gC m⁻²) and used soil radiocarbon measurements to derive mean SOC turnover time (years) for 0-10 cm mineral soil at ten sites across North America that included arctic tundra, northern boreal, northern and southern hardwood, subtropical, and tropical forests, tallgrass and shortgrass prairie, mountain grassland, and desert. SOC turnover time ranged 36-fold among ecosystems, and was much longer for cold tundra and northern boreal forest and dry desert (1277-2151 years) compared to other warmer and wetter habitats (59-353 years). Two measures of C input, net aboveground production (NAP), determined from the literature, and a radiocarbon-derived measure of C flowing to the 0-10 cm mineral pool, I, were positively and SOC turnover time was negatively associated with mean annual evapotranspiration (ET) among ecosystems. The best fit model generated from the independent variables NAP, I, annual mean temperature and precipitation, ET, and clay content revealed that SOC stock was best explained by the single variable I. Overall, these findings indicate the primary role that C input and the secondary role that C stabilization play in determining SOC stocks at large regional spatial scales and highlight the large vulnerability of the global SOC pool to climate change.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
604
    604
  • Thumbnail: Page 
605
    605
  • Thumbnail: Page 
606
    606
  • Thumbnail: Page 
607
    607
  • Thumbnail: Page 
608
    608
  • Thumbnail: Page 
609
    609
  • Thumbnail: Page 
610
    610
  • Thumbnail: Page 
611
    611
  • Thumbnail: Page 
612
    612
  • Thumbnail: Page 
613
    613
  • Thumbnail: Page 
614
    614
  • Thumbnail: Page 
615
    615