Trees enhance soil carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in a silvopastoral system in south-western Nicaragua

Marcel R. Hoosbeek*, Roy P. Remme, Graciela M. Rusch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tree occurrence in silvopastoral systems of Central America has been under pressure for various reasons including attempts to improve grassland productivity and the need for wood. However, scattered isolated trees are also recognized to provide ecosystem services like shade, fodder and fruits that are important to cattle in the dry season. In addition, trees may enhance the climate change mitigation potential of silvopastoral systems through increased carbon (C) uptake and subsequent soil carbon sequestration. Through differences in plant traits like nutrient uptake, canopy structure and litter quality, tree species may have an effect on C and nutrient cycling. Due to a prevailing north-easterly wind in the study area, three distinct areas associated with the impact of tree litter deposition were identified: (1) open pasture—no tree litter deposition; (2) tree canopy—above and belowground tree litter; and (3) leaf litter cone—aboveground tree litter deposition. Furthermore, the effect of tree species, Guazuma ulmifolia and Crescentia alata, were considered. The presence of trees, as compared to pasture, caused larger topsoil C, N and P contents. In the subsoil, C content was also larger due to tree presence. Soil fractionation showed that tree-induced larger litter input subsequently increased free and occluded OM fractions and ultimately increased stabilized SOM fractions. Therefore, trees were found to enhance soil C sequestration in these silvopastoral systems. This is also supported by the soil respiration data. Although the respiration rates in the pasture subplots were lower than in the leaf litter subplots, the difference was not significant, which suggests that part of the extra C input to the leaf litter subplots stayed in the soil. Nutrient cycling was also enhanced by tree presence, but with a clear differentiation between species. C. alata (Jícaro) enhanced available and stabilized forms of organic N, while G. ulmifolia (Guácimo) enhanced available soil P and stabilized organic P.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-273
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Volume92
Issue number2
Early online date2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Fingerprint

silvopastoral systems
Nicaragua
nutrient cycling
soil carbon
carbon sequestration
biogeochemical cycles
litter
Crescentia alata
leaf litter
Guazuma ulmifolia
plant litter
pasture
soil
soil separates
pastures
fodder
forest canopy
soil respiration
nutrient uptake
respiratory rate

Keywords

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Crescentia alata
  • Guazuma ulmifolia
  • Leaf litter deposition
  • Silvopastoral system
  • Soil carbon stabilization

Cite this

@article{75d19e524abd43d185569b97135c6fcf,
title = "Trees enhance soil carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in a silvopastoral system in south-western Nicaragua",
abstract = "Tree occurrence in silvopastoral systems of Central America has been under pressure for various reasons including attempts to improve grassland productivity and the need for wood. However, scattered isolated trees are also recognized to provide ecosystem services like shade, fodder and fruits that are important to cattle in the dry season. In addition, trees may enhance the climate change mitigation potential of silvopastoral systems through increased carbon (C) uptake and subsequent soil carbon sequestration. Through differences in plant traits like nutrient uptake, canopy structure and litter quality, tree species may have an effect on C and nutrient cycling. Due to a prevailing north-easterly wind in the study area, three distinct areas associated with the impact of tree litter deposition were identified: (1) open pasture—no tree litter deposition; (2) tree canopy—above and belowground tree litter; and (3) leaf litter cone—aboveground tree litter deposition. Furthermore, the effect of tree species, Guazuma ulmifolia and Crescentia alata, were considered. The presence of trees, as compared to pasture, caused larger topsoil C, N and P contents. In the subsoil, C content was also larger due to tree presence. Soil fractionation showed that tree-induced larger litter input subsequently increased free and occluded OM fractions and ultimately increased stabilized SOM fractions. Therefore, trees were found to enhance soil C sequestration in these silvopastoral systems. This is also supported by the soil respiration data. Although the respiration rates in the pasture subplots were lower than in the leaf litter subplots, the difference was not significant, which suggests that part of the extra C input to the leaf litter subplots stayed in the soil. Nutrient cycling was also enhanced by tree presence, but with a clear differentiation between species. C. alata (J{\'i}caro) enhanced available and stabilized forms of organic N, while G. ulmifolia (Gu{\'a}cimo) enhanced available soil P and stabilized organic P.",
keywords = "Carbon sequestration, Crescentia alata, Guazuma ulmifolia, Leaf litter deposition, Silvopastoral system, Soil carbon stabilization",
author = "Hoosbeek, {Marcel R.} and Remme, {Roy P.} and Rusch, {Graciela M.}",
year = "2018",
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Trees enhance soil carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in a silvopastoral system in south-western Nicaragua. / Hoosbeek, Marcel R.; Remme, Roy P.; Rusch, Graciela M.

In: Agroforestry Systems, Vol. 92, No. 2, 04.2018, p. 263-273.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trees enhance soil carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in a silvopastoral system in south-western Nicaragua

AU - Hoosbeek, Marcel R.

AU - Remme, Roy P.

AU - Rusch, Graciela M.

PY - 2018/4

Y1 - 2018/4

N2 - Tree occurrence in silvopastoral systems of Central America has been under pressure for various reasons including attempts to improve grassland productivity and the need for wood. However, scattered isolated trees are also recognized to provide ecosystem services like shade, fodder and fruits that are important to cattle in the dry season. In addition, trees may enhance the climate change mitigation potential of silvopastoral systems through increased carbon (C) uptake and subsequent soil carbon sequestration. Through differences in plant traits like nutrient uptake, canopy structure and litter quality, tree species may have an effect on C and nutrient cycling. Due to a prevailing north-easterly wind in the study area, three distinct areas associated with the impact of tree litter deposition were identified: (1) open pasture—no tree litter deposition; (2) tree canopy—above and belowground tree litter; and (3) leaf litter cone—aboveground tree litter deposition. Furthermore, the effect of tree species, Guazuma ulmifolia and Crescentia alata, were considered. The presence of trees, as compared to pasture, caused larger topsoil C, N and P contents. In the subsoil, C content was also larger due to tree presence. Soil fractionation showed that tree-induced larger litter input subsequently increased free and occluded OM fractions and ultimately increased stabilized SOM fractions. Therefore, trees were found to enhance soil C sequestration in these silvopastoral systems. This is also supported by the soil respiration data. Although the respiration rates in the pasture subplots were lower than in the leaf litter subplots, the difference was not significant, which suggests that part of the extra C input to the leaf litter subplots stayed in the soil. Nutrient cycling was also enhanced by tree presence, but with a clear differentiation between species. C. alata (Jícaro) enhanced available and stabilized forms of organic N, while G. ulmifolia (Guácimo) enhanced available soil P and stabilized organic P.

AB - Tree occurrence in silvopastoral systems of Central America has been under pressure for various reasons including attempts to improve grassland productivity and the need for wood. However, scattered isolated trees are also recognized to provide ecosystem services like shade, fodder and fruits that are important to cattle in the dry season. In addition, trees may enhance the climate change mitigation potential of silvopastoral systems through increased carbon (C) uptake and subsequent soil carbon sequestration. Through differences in plant traits like nutrient uptake, canopy structure and litter quality, tree species may have an effect on C and nutrient cycling. Due to a prevailing north-easterly wind in the study area, three distinct areas associated with the impact of tree litter deposition were identified: (1) open pasture—no tree litter deposition; (2) tree canopy—above and belowground tree litter; and (3) leaf litter cone—aboveground tree litter deposition. Furthermore, the effect of tree species, Guazuma ulmifolia and Crescentia alata, were considered. The presence of trees, as compared to pasture, caused larger topsoil C, N and P contents. In the subsoil, C content was also larger due to tree presence. Soil fractionation showed that tree-induced larger litter input subsequently increased free and occluded OM fractions and ultimately increased stabilized SOM fractions. Therefore, trees were found to enhance soil C sequestration in these silvopastoral systems. This is also supported by the soil respiration data. Although the respiration rates in the pasture subplots were lower than in the leaf litter subplots, the difference was not significant, which suggests that part of the extra C input to the leaf litter subplots stayed in the soil. Nutrient cycling was also enhanced by tree presence, but with a clear differentiation between species. C. alata (Jícaro) enhanced available and stabilized forms of organic N, while G. ulmifolia (Guácimo) enhanced available soil P and stabilized organic P.

KW - Carbon sequestration

KW - Crescentia alata

KW - Guazuma ulmifolia

KW - Leaf litter deposition

KW - Silvopastoral system

KW - Soil carbon stabilization

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DO - 10.1007/s10457-016-0049-2

M3 - Article

VL - 92

SP - 263

EP - 273

JO - Agroforestry Systems

JF - Agroforestry Systems

SN - 0167-4366

IS - 2

ER -