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The influence of tree and soil management on soil organic carbon stock and pools in dehesa systems

AuthorsReyna-Bowen, Lizardo; Fernández-Rebollo, Pilar; Fernández-Habas, Jesús; Gómez Calero, José Alfonso CSIC ORCID
KeywordsOrganic carbon fractions
Shift from cultivation to grazing
Crop rotation
Tree plantation
Issue DateJul-2020
CitationCatena 190: 104511 (2020)
AbstractThis study evaluated the effect on SOC concentration, stock and fractions in a dehesa divided into two areas of similar soil type but different soil management. The first area was a pastured dehesa (P) with young Holm oaks, planted in 1995 (70 trees ha−1, 12 m × 12 m) and, since 2000, grazed by sheep (3 sheep ha−1) with an average period of grazing of six months a year. Prior to this it was managed in the same way as the second adjacent area. The second area was a cropped dehesa (C) with widely spaced mature Holm oak (14 trees in a 12-ha dehesa), on which a mixture of vetch and oats was cultivated every three years and tilled with a chisel plough. After 22 years both dehesas showed similar SOC stock distribution amongst areas with different soil management, with approximately 40 t ha−1 in the top 100 cm of the soil. The P dehesa only showed higher SOC stock than the C dehesa on the surface 0–2 cm (5.86 ± 0.56 t ha-1vs 3.24 ± 0.37 t ha−1). The influence of the trees, increasing SOC concentration and content when compared to the area outside the canopy projection, was only detected under the mature trees in the C dehesa. In the area outside the tree canopy, both systems showed a similar distribution of soil organic carbon among their different fractions, with the unprotected fraction being the dominant one, followed by the physically and chemically protected fractions. In the C dehesa, the mature trees’ presence significantly modified the distribution of soil organic carbon in their surroundings, increasing the relevance of the unprotected fraction. The distribution of soil organic carbon in the unprotected and physically and chemically protected fractions were strongly correlated to the overall organic carbon concentration in the soil, indicating the rapid response of these three fractions to management, with the biochemically protected fraction showing no correlation, suggesting a high resilience to the changes in carbon budget.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2020.104511
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