Hierarchical saturation of soil carbon pools near a natural CO2 spring

D.M. Kool, H. Chung, K.R. Tate, D.J. Ross, P.C.D. Newton, J. Six

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Abstract

Soil has been identified as a possible carbon (C) sink to mitigate increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, several recent studies have suggested that the potential of soil to sequester C is limited and that soil may become saturated with C under increasing CO2 levels. To test this concept of soil C saturation, we studied a gley and organic soil at a grassland site near a natural CO2 spring. Total and aggregate-associated soil organic C (SOC) concentration showed a significant increase with atmospheric CO2 concentration. An asymptotic function showed a better fit of SOC and aggregation with CO2 level than a linear model. There was a shift in allocation of total C from smaller size fractions to the largest aggregate fraction with increasing CO2 concentration. Litter inputs appeared to be positively related to CO2 concentration. Based on modeled function parameters and the observed shift in the allocation of the soil C from small to large aggregate-size classes, we postulate that there is a hierarchy in C saturation across different SOC pools. We conclude that the asymptotic response of SOC concentration at higher CO2 levels indicates saturation of soil C pools, likely because of a limit to physical protection of SOC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1282-1293
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Fingerprint

soil carbon
organic soil
Carbon
saturation
Soils
soil
aggregate size
soil aggregate
litter
grassland
carbon
Agglomeration

Keywords

  • elevated atmospheric co2
  • long-term exposure
  • organic-matter
  • nitrogen limitation
  • no-tillage
  • aggregate stability
  • agricultural soils
  • grassland
  • dioxide
  • sequestration

Cite this

Kool, D. M., Chung, H., Tate, K. R., Ross, D. J., Newton, P. C. D., & Six, J. (2007). Hierarchical saturation of soil carbon pools near a natural CO2 spring. Global Change Biology, 13(6), 1282-1293. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01362.x
Kool, D.M. ; Chung, H. ; Tate, K.R. ; Ross, D.J. ; Newton, P.C.D. ; Six, J. / Hierarchical saturation of soil carbon pools near a natural CO2 spring. In: Global Change Biology. 2007 ; Vol. 13, No. 6. pp. 1282-1293.
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Kool, DM, Chung, H, Tate, KR, Ross, DJ, Newton, PCD & Six, J 2007, 'Hierarchical saturation of soil carbon pools near a natural CO2 spring', Global Change Biology, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 1282-1293. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01362.x

Hierarchical saturation of soil carbon pools near a natural CO2 spring. / Kool, D.M.; Chung, H.; Tate, K.R.; Ross, D.J.; Newton, P.C.D.; Six, J.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 13, No. 6, 2007, p. 1282-1293.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Kool, D.M.

AU - Chung, H.

AU - Tate, K.R.

AU - Ross, D.J.

AU - Newton, P.C.D.

AU - Six, J.

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AB - Soil has been identified as a possible carbon (C) sink to mitigate increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, several recent studies have suggested that the potential of soil to sequester C is limited and that soil may become saturated with C under increasing CO2 levels. To test this concept of soil C saturation, we studied a gley and organic soil at a grassland site near a natural CO2 spring. Total and aggregate-associated soil organic C (SOC) concentration showed a significant increase with atmospheric CO2 concentration. An asymptotic function showed a better fit of SOC and aggregation with CO2 level than a linear model. There was a shift in allocation of total C from smaller size fractions to the largest aggregate fraction with increasing CO2 concentration. Litter inputs appeared to be positively related to CO2 concentration. Based on modeled function parameters and the observed shift in the allocation of the soil C from small to large aggregate-size classes, we postulate that there is a hierarchy in C saturation across different SOC pools. We conclude that the asymptotic response of SOC concentration at higher CO2 levels indicates saturation of soil C pools, likely because of a limit to physical protection of SOC.

KW - elevated atmospheric co2

KW - long-term exposure

KW - organic-matter

KW - nitrogen limitation

KW - no-tillage

KW - aggregate stability

KW - agricultural soils

KW - grassland

KW - dioxide

KW - sequestration

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