Special Issue "Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Alberto Agnelli
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Guest Editor
Associate Professor of Pedology, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
Interests: soil genesis; soil organic matter structure and dynamic; soil–plant interaction; rhizosphere; forest soils
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil comprises the largest pool of terrestrial C, and through soil organic matter (SOM) cycling, it represents either an important sink of atmospheric CO2 or a possible source of greenhouse gases. SOM includes a wide range of compounds at different decomposition stages derived from litter, root turnover, and microorganisms, and its dynamics is controlled by substrate quality, biological activity, soil type, vegetation and climate. Furthermore, the stability of soil organic C (SOC) is enhanced by interactions with minerals and by occlusion within organomineral complexes that make organic C less accessible to microbial attack.

Forest covers about 30% of the total world’s land area, and forest soils are generally considered active C sink, being less affected by anthropic disturbances than agricultural soils. However, although SOC cycling is key in forest ecosystems, the processes involved in the transformation of organic matter, from a pool to another, and its stabilization have not been fully understood and are further complicated by the ongoing climate change. Indeed, temperature can influence SOC cycling both directly, through its impact on microbial metabolism, and indirectly through long-term effects on soil properties. In addition, forest management is another important factor which can improve SOC sequestration by affecting nutrient availability, amount, and quality of organic matter, and many biogeochemical cycles.

For this Special Issue, we are asking papers reporting studies on soil organic C pools (including dead wood and litter), dynamic, and sequestration in forest soils that contribute to improve both basic knowledge on the mechanisms controlling the SOC cycling and on sustainable management strategies of forest ecosystems.

Prof. Alberto Agnelli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Soil organic matter
  • C sequestration
  • Organic matter fractionation
  • Organic–mineral complexes
  • Soil biological activity
  • Climate change
  • Forest management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Altitude and Vegetation Affect Soil Organic Carbon, Basal Respiration and Microbial Biomass in Apennine Forest Soils
Forests 2020, 11(6), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060710 - 26 Jun 2020
Abstract
Both altitude and vegetation are known to affect the amount and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) and the size and activity of soil microbial biomass. However, when altitude and vegetation changes are combined, it is still unclear which one has a greater [...] Read more.
Both altitude and vegetation are known to affect the amount and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) and the size and activity of soil microbial biomass. However, when altitude and vegetation changes are combined, it is still unclear which one has a greater effect on soil chemical and biochemical properties. With the aim of clarifying this, we tested the effect of altitude (and hence temperature) and vegetation (broadleaf vs pine forests) on soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil microbial biomass and its activity. Soil sampling was carried out in two adjacent toposequences ranging from 500 to 1000 m a.s.l. on a calcareous massif in central Italy: one covered only by Pinus nigra J.F. Arnold forests, while the other covered by Quercus pubescens Willd., Ostrya carpinifolia Scop. and Fagus sylvatica L. forests, at 500, 700 and 1000 m a.s.l., respectively. The content of SOC and water-extractable organic carbon (WEOC) increased with altitude for the pine forests, while for the broadleaf forests no trend along the slope occurred, and the highest SOC and WEOC contents were observed in the soil at 700 m under the Ostrya carpinifolia forest. With regard to the soil microbial community, although the size of the soil microbial biomass (Cmic) generally followed the SOC contents along the slope, both broadleaf and pine forest soils showed similar diminishing trends with altitude of soil respiration (ΣCO2-C), and ΣCO2-C:WEOC and ΣCO2-C:Cmic ratios. The results pointed out that, although under the pine forests’ altitude was effective in affecting WEOC and SOC contents, in the soils along the broadleaf forest toposequence this effect was absent, indicating a greater impact of vegetation than temperature on SOC amount and pool distribution. Conversely, the similar trend with altitude of the microbial activity indexes would indicate temperature to be crucial for the activity of the soil microbial community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Carbon Storage and 14C Apparent Age of Upland and Riparian Soils in a Montane Subtropical Moist Forest of Southwestern China
Forests 2020, 11(6), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060645 - 05 Jun 2020
Abstract
Upland and riparian soils usually differ in soil texture and moisture conditions, thus, likely varying in carbon storage and turnover time. However, few studies have differentiated their functions on the storage of soil organic carbon (SOC) in sub-tropical broad-leaved evergreen forests. In this [...] Read more.
Upland and riparian soils usually differ in soil texture and moisture conditions, thus, likely varying in carbon storage and turnover time. However, few studies have differentiated their functions on the storage of soil organic carbon (SOC) in sub-tropical broad-leaved evergreen forests. In this study, we aim to uncover the SOC storage and 14C apparent age, in the upland and riparian soils of a primary evergreen broad-leaved montane subtropical moist forest in the Ailao Mountains of southwestern China. We sampled the upland and riparian soils along four soil profiles down to the parent material at regular intervals from two local representative watersheds, and determined SOC concentrations, δ13C values and 14C apparent ages. We found that SOC concentration decreased exponentially and 14C apparent age increased linearly with soil depth in the four soil profiles. Although, soil depth was deeper in the upland soil profiles than the riparian soil profiles, the weighted mean SOC concentration was significantly greater in the riparian soil (25.7 ± 3.9 g/kg) than the upland soil (19.7 ± 2.3 g/kg), but has an equal total SOC content per unit of ground area around 21 kg/m2 in the two different type soils. SOC δ13C values varied between −23.7 (±0.8)‰ and −33.2 (±0.2)‰ in the two upland soil profiles and between −25.5 (±0.4)‰ and −36.8 (±0.4)‰ along the two riparian soil profiles, with greater variation in the riparian soil profiles than the upland soil profiles. The slope of increase in SOC 14C apparent age along soil depth in the riparian soil profiles was greater than in the upland soil profiles. The oldest apparent age of SOC 14C was 23,260 (±230) years BP (before present, i.e., 1950) in the riparian soil profiles and 19,045 (±150) years BP in the upland soil profiles. Our data suggest that the decomposition of SOC is slower in the riparian soil than in the upland soil, and the increased SOC loss in the upland soil from deforestation may partially be compensated by the deposition of the eroded upland SOC in the riparian area, as an under-appreciated carbon sink. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
Determining the Distribution and Interaction of Soil Organic Carbon, Nitrogen, pH and Texture in Soil Profiles: A Case Study in the Lancangjiang River Basin, Southwest China
Forests 2020, 11(5), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050532 - 10 May 2020
Abstract
The profile distributions of soil organic carbon (SOC), soil organic nitrogen (SON), soil pH and soil texture were rarely investigated in the Lancangjiang River Basin. This study aims to present the vertical distributions of these soil properties and provide some insights about how [...] Read more.
The profile distributions of soil organic carbon (SOC), soil organic nitrogen (SON), soil pH and soil texture were rarely investigated in the Lancangjiang River Basin. This study aims to present the vertical distributions of these soil properties and provide some insights about how they interact with each other in the two typical soil profiles. A total of 56 soil samples were collected from two soil profiles (LCJ S-1, LCJ S-2) in the Lancangjiang River Basin to analyze the profile distributions of SOC and SON and to determine the effects of soil pH and soil texture. Generally, the contents of SOC and SON decreased with increasing soil depth and SOC contents were higher than SON contents (average SOC vs. SON content: 3.87 g kg−1 vs. 1.92 g kg−1 in LCJ S-1 and 5.19 g kg−1 vs. 0.96 g kg−1 in LCJ S-2). Soil pH ranged from 4.50 to 5.74 in the two soil profiles and generally increased with increasing soil depth. According to the percentages of clay, silt, and sand, most soil samples can be categorized as silty loam. Soil pH values were negatively correlated with C/N ratios (r = −0.66, p < 0.01) and SOC contents (r = −0.52, p < 0.01). Clay contents were positively correlated with C/N ratios (r = 0.43, p < 0.05) and SOC contents (r = 0.42, p < 0.01). The results indicate that soil pH and clay are essential factors influencing the SOC spatial distributions in the two soil profiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Carbon Storage and Its Determinants in Forest Fragments of Differentiated Patch Size
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111044 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Research Highlights: Soil carbon storage (SOC) decreased due to forest fragmentation through lower proportion of macroaggregate distribution, higher storage of fine roots and litter falls, and lower fine root production rate. Background and Objectives: Globally, forest fragmentation processes lead to enormous [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Soil carbon storage (SOC) decreased due to forest fragmentation through lower proportion of macroaggregate distribution, higher storage of fine roots and litter falls, and lower fine root production rate. Background and Objectives: Globally, forest fragmentation processes lead to enormous losses of SOC in forests. We investigated SOC and its determinants in forest fragments experiencing edge disturbances in south China. Materials and Methods: Soil aggregate characteristics, dynamics of fine roots, and litter fall were studied from forest edges to interiors. Generalized linear mixed models were used to model the contributions of fine root and litter fall dynamics to carbon concentration in aggregates. Results: Large and small macroaggregates had higher proportion of aggregate distribution and contributed more carbon to SOC in all types of plots in the present study. SOC significantly increased from forest edges to interiors due to carbon concentration of these two aggregate types increasing from edges to interiors, while the proportion of different aggregate distributions was similar within each plot. The same trend was found with increasing forest patch size. Fine root biomass storage had the strongest impact on carbon concentration in large macroaggregates and microaggregates, with higher fine root biomass storage associated with lower carbon concentration. In addition, biomass storage and production rates of both fine roots and litter falls decreased from forest interiors to edges. Our results showed that SOC was significantly decreased due to the lower proportion of large and small macroaggregate distribution, and lower fine root production rate in forest fragments. Conclusions: SOC loss due to effects of forest fragmentation and forest edges occurred through decreased concentrations of soil aggregates and fine root production rates. Results from this study will enhance our ability to evaluate soil aggregate, fine root, and leaf litter fall contributions to SOC within forest fragments, and to suggest basic recommendations for the management and conservation of these forest fragments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal and Spatial Changes of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in the Forest Area of Northeastern China
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111023 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Forest soil organic carbon (SOC) accounts for a large portion of global soil carbon stocks. Accurately mapping forest SOC stocks is a necessity for quantifying forest carbon cycling and forest soil sustainable management. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) [...] Read more.
Forest soil organic carbon (SOC) accounts for a large portion of global soil carbon stocks. Accurately mapping forest SOC stocks is a necessity for quantifying forest carbon cycling and forest soil sustainable management. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) model to predict the spatial distribution of SOC stocks during two time periods (1990 and 2015) and calculated their spatiotemporal changes during 25 years in Liaoning Province, China. A total of 367 (1990) and 539 (2015) sampling sites and 9 environmental variables (climate, topography, remote sensing) were used in the BRT model. The ten-fold cross-validation technique was used to evaluate the prediction performance and uncertainty of the BRT model in two periods. It was found that the BRT model could account for 65% and 59% of SOC stocks, respectively for the two periods. MAP and NDVI were the main environmental variables controlling the spatial variability of SOC stocks. Over the 25-year period, the average SOC stocks increased from 5.66 to 6.61 kg m−2. In the whole study area, the SOC stocks were the highest in the northeast, followed by the southwest, and the lowest in the middle of the spatial distribution pattern in the two periods. Our accurate mapping of SOC stocks, their spatial distribution characteristics, influencing factors, and main controlling factors in forest areas will assist soil management and help assess environmental changes in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Carbon Pools and Storage in Forest Soil)
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