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Quantifying soil organic carbon in complex landscapes: an example of grassland undergoing encroachment of
 

Summary: Quantifying soil organic carbon in complex landscapes:
an example of grassland undergoing encroachment of
woody plants
F E N G L I U *1
, X . B E N W U *, E . B A I *2
, T H O M A S W. B O U T T O N * and S T E V E N R . A R C H E R w
*Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA, wSchool of Natural
Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Abstract
The invasion of woody plants into grass-dominated ecosystems has occurred worldwide during the past century with
potentially significant impacts on soil organic carbon (SOC) storage, ecosystem carbon sequestration and global
climate warming. To date, most studies of tree and shrub encroachment impacts on SOC have been conducted at small
scales and results are equivocal. To quantify the effects of woody plant proliferation on SOC at broad spatial scales and
to potentially resolve inconsistencies reported from studies conducted at fine spatial scales, information regarding
spatial variability and uncertainty of SOC is essential. We used sequential indicator simulation (SIS) to quantify spatial
uncertainty of SOC in a grassland undergoing shrub encroachment in the Southern Great Plains, USA. Results showed
that both SOC pool size and its spatial uncertainty increased with the development of woody communities in
grasslands. Higher uncertainty of SOC in new shrub-dominated communities may be the result of their relatively
recent development, their more complex above- and belowground architecture, stronger within-community gradi-
ents, and a greater degree of faunal disturbance. Simulations of alternative sampling designs demonstrated the effects

  

Source: Archer, Steven R. - Savanna/Woodland Ecology Lab., School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona
Boutton, Thomas W. - Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology