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The objective of this project was to use detailed soil profi le descriptions and soil carbon analyses to determine the soil C sequestration potential of tree planting across climatic gradients in the U.S. Great Plains. Tree windbreak age ranged from 19 to 70 years and age of cultivation from 22 to ~110 years. At each site, soil pits were prepared within the tree planting, the adjacent crop fi elds, and nearby undisturbed grassland. Windbreak soils had consistently thicker soil organic carbon (SOC)- enriched A or A+AB horizons when compared to the crop fi elds. The thickness of A or A+AB horizons in the windbreak soils were comparable to the undisturbed grassland soils. A linear relationship was detected between the difference in A+AB thickness of soils beneath windbreaks and undisturbed grasslands and a climate index (hydrothermal coeffi cient, HTC). These results indicate that tree windbreaks with more cool and moist climate conditions are more favorable for SOC accumulation in the surface soil. The relationship between SOC accumulation and climate factors enables the estimation of soil carbon stocks in existing windbreaks and the prediction of potential carbon sequestration of future plantings.
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Chendev, Yuri G.; Novykh, Larisa L.; Sauer, Thomas J.; Petin, Aleksandr N.; Zazdravnykh, Evgeny A.; and Burras, C. Lee, "Evolution of Soil Carbon Storage and Morphometric Properties of Afforested Soils in the U.S. Great Plains" (2014). Agronomy Publications. 60.