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Title: Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots

Abstract

We report that tropical forests are the most carbon (C)- rich ecosystems on Earth, containing 25–40% of global terrestrial C stocks. While large-scale quantifi- cation of aboveground biomass in tropical forests has improved recently, soil C dynamics remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in Earth system models, which inhibits our ability to predict future climate. Globally, soil texture and climate predict B 30% of the variation in soil C stocks, so ecosystem models often predict soil C using measures of aboveground plant growth. However, this approach can underestimate tropical soil C stocks, and has proven inaccurate when compared with data for soil C in data-rich northern ecosystems. By quantifying soil organic C stocks to 1 m depth for 48 humid tropical forest plots across gradients of rainfall and soil fertility in Panama, we show that soil C does not correlate with common predictors used in models, such as plant biomass or litter production. Instead, a structural equation model including base cations, soil clay content, and rainfall as exogenous factors and root biomass as an endogenous factor predicted nearly 50% of the variation in tropical soil C stocks, indicating a strong indirect effect of base cation availability on tropicalmore » soil C storage. Including soil base cations in C cycle models, and thus emphasizing mechanistic links among nutrients, root biomass, and soil C stocks, will improve prediction of climate-soil feedbacks in tropical forests.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5]
  1. University of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Department of Geography
  2. Bangor University (United Kingdom). School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography; University of Oxford (United Kingdom). Department of Zoology; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon (Republic of Panama)
  3. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon (Republic of Panama); Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL (United States); Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL (United States)
  4. University of Oxford (United Kingdom). Department of Zoology
  5. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancon (Republic of Panama)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1416561
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0015898
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biogeochemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 137; Journal Issue: 1-2; Journal ID: ISSN 0168-2563
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Aboveground biomass; Clay; Litterfall; Phosphorus; Precipitation; Rainforest

Citation Formats

Cusack, Daniela F., Markesteijn, Lars, Condit, Richard, Lewis, Owen T., and Turner, Benjamin L. Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0416-8.
Cusack, Daniela F., Markesteijn, Lars, Condit, Richard, Lewis, Owen T., & Turner, Benjamin L. Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots. United States. doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0416-8.
Cusack, Daniela F., Markesteijn, Lars, Condit, Richard, Lewis, Owen T., and Turner, Benjamin L. Tue . "Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots". United States. doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0416-8. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1416561.
@article{osti_1416561,
title = {Soil carbon stocks across tropical forests of Panama regulated by base cation effects on fine roots},
author = {Cusack, Daniela F. and Markesteijn, Lars and Condit, Richard and Lewis, Owen T. and Turner, Benjamin L.},
abstractNote = {We report that tropical forests are the most carbon (C)- rich ecosystems on Earth, containing 25–40% of global terrestrial C stocks. While large-scale quantifi- cation of aboveground biomass in tropical forests has improved recently, soil C dynamics remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in Earth system models, which inhibits our ability to predict future climate. Globally, soil texture and climate predict B 30% of the variation in soil C stocks, so ecosystem models often predict soil C using measures of aboveground plant growth. However, this approach can underestimate tropical soil C stocks, and has proven inaccurate when compared with data for soil C in data-rich northern ecosystems. By quantifying soil organic C stocks to 1 m depth for 48 humid tropical forest plots across gradients of rainfall and soil fertility in Panama, we show that soil C does not correlate with common predictors used in models, such as plant biomass or litter production. Instead, a structural equation model including base cations, soil clay content, and rainfall as exogenous factors and root biomass as an endogenous factor predicted nearly 50% of the variation in tropical soil C stocks, indicating a strong indirect effect of base cation availability on tropical soil C storage. Including soil base cations in C cycle models, and thus emphasizing mechanistic links among nutrients, root biomass, and soil C stocks, will improve prediction of climate-soil feedbacks in tropical forests.},
doi = {10.1007/s10533-017-0416-8},
journal = {Biogeochemistry},
issn = {0168-2563},
number = 1-2,
volume = 137,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
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Cited by: 2 works
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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: A map of the extensive geological variability of central Panama is shown, with plots spanning from the drier southern Pacific coast to the wetter northern Caribbean coast. Colors represent different geological substrates and formations (Fm). The 48 sites used in this study are identified with letters, with site-levelmore » geological details, soil chemistry, and within-site variation given in Online Appendix 1. Litter fall data in this study are from sites A, E, F, J, R, NN, SS, and VV. Measured soil C stocks are indicated for each site in bold numbers (kg-C m-2), and site markers indicate sites with low, medium, and high C stocks. Maps modified from Stewart et al. (1980)« less

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