Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings

Jacqueline England, Keryn Paul, Dinesh Madhavan, Thomas Baker, Zoe Read, Brian Wilson, T Cavagnaro, Tom Lewis, Michael Perring, Tim Herrmann, Philip Polglase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species environmental plantings (native trees and shrubs) can contribute to mitigation of climate change through sequestration of carbon. Although soil carbon sequestration following reforestation has been investigated at site- and regional-scales, there are few studies across regions where the impact of a broad range of site conditions and management practices can be assessed. We collated new and existing data on soil organic carbon (SOC, 0-30 cm depth, N = 117 sites) and litter (N = 106 sites) under mixed-species plantings and an agricultural pair or baseline across southern and eastern Australia. Sites covered a range of previous land uses, initial SOC stocks, climatic conditions and management types. Differences in total SOC stocks following reforestation were significant at 52% of sites, with a mean rate of increase of 0.57 ± 0.06 Mg C ha-1 y-1. Increases were largely in the particulate fraction, which increased significantly at 46% of sites compared with increases at 27% of sites for the humus fraction. Although relative increase was highest in the particulate fraction, the humus fraction was the largest proportion of total SOC and so absolute differences in both fractions were similar. Accumulation rates of carbon in litter were 0.39 ± 0.02 Mg C ha-1 y-1, increasing the total (soil + litter) annual rate of carbon sequestration by 68%. Previously-cropped sites accumulated more SOC than previously-grazed sites. The explained variance differed widely among empirical models of differences in SOC stocks following reforestation according to SOC fraction and depth for previously-grazed (R2 = 0.18-0.51) and previously-cropped (R2 = 0.14-0.60) sites. For previously-grazed sites, differences in SOC following reforestation were negatively related to total SOC in the pasture. By comparison, for previously-cropped sites, differences in SOC were positively related to mean annual rainfall. This improved broad-scale understanding of the magnitude and predictors of changes in stocks of soil and litter C following reforestation is valuable for the development of policy on carbon markets and the establishment of future mixed-species environmental plantings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume227
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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reforestation
soil organic carbon
agricultural land
land use
organic carbon
planting
climate
litter
carbon sequestration
soil
humus
carbon
particulates
carbon markets
development policy
soil carbon
rangelands
accumulation rate
management practice
pasture

Cite this

England, Jacqueline ; Paul, Keryn ; Madhavan, Dinesh ; Baker, Thomas ; Read, Zoe ; Wilson, Brian ; Cavagnaro, T ; Lewis, Tom ; Perring, Michael ; Herrmann, Tim ; Polglase, Philip. / Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings. In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 2016 ; Vol. 227. pp. 61-72.
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title = "Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings",
abstract = "Reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species environmental plantings (native trees and shrubs) can contribute to mitigation of climate change through sequestration of carbon. Although soil carbon sequestration following reforestation has been investigated at site- and regional-scales, there are few studies across regions where the impact of a broad range of site conditions and management practices can be assessed. We collated new and existing data on soil organic carbon (SOC, 0-30 cm depth, N = 117 sites) and litter (N = 106 sites) under mixed-species plantings and an agricultural pair or baseline across southern and eastern Australia. Sites covered a range of previous land uses, initial SOC stocks, climatic conditions and management types. Differences in total SOC stocks following reforestation were significant at 52{\%} of sites, with a mean rate of increase of 0.57 ± 0.06 Mg C ha-1 y-1. Increases were largely in the particulate fraction, which increased significantly at 46{\%} of sites compared with increases at 27{\%} of sites for the humus fraction. Although relative increase was highest in the particulate fraction, the humus fraction was the largest proportion of total SOC and so absolute differences in both fractions were similar. Accumulation rates of carbon in litter were 0.39 ± 0.02 Mg C ha-1 y-1, increasing the total (soil + litter) annual rate of carbon sequestration by 68{\%}. Previously-cropped sites accumulated more SOC than previously-grazed sites. The explained variance differed widely among empirical models of differences in SOC stocks following reforestation according to SOC fraction and depth for previously-grazed (R2 = 0.18-0.51) and previously-cropped (R2 = 0.14-0.60) sites. For previously-grazed sites, differences in SOC following reforestation were negatively related to total SOC in the pasture. By comparison, for previously-cropped sites, differences in SOC were positively related to mean annual rainfall. This improved broad-scale understanding of the magnitude and predictors of changes in stocks of soil and litter C following reforestation is valuable for the development of policy on carbon markets and the establishment of future mixed-species environmental plantings.",
author = "Jacqueline England and Keryn Paul and Dinesh Madhavan and Thomas Baker and Zoe Read and Brian Wilson and T Cavagnaro and Tom Lewis and Michael Perring and Tim Herrmann and Philip Polglase",
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England, J, Paul, K, Madhavan, D, Baker, T, Read, Z, Wilson, B, Cavagnaro, T, Lewis, T, Perring, M, Herrmann, T & Polglase, P 2016, 'Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings', Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, vol. 227, pp. 61-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.04.026

Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings. / England, Jacqueline; Paul, Keryn; Madhavan, Dinesh; Baker, Thomas; Read, Zoe; Wilson, Brian; Cavagnaro, T; Lewis, Tom; Perring, Michael; Herrmann, Tim; Polglase, Philip.

In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 227, 2016, p. 61-72.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Previous land use and climate influence differences in soil organic carbon following reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species plantings

AU - England, Jacqueline

AU - Paul, Keryn

AU - Madhavan, Dinesh

AU - Baker, Thomas

AU - Read, Zoe

AU - Wilson, Brian

AU - Cavagnaro, T

AU - Lewis, Tom

AU - Perring, Michael

AU - Herrmann, Tim

AU - Polglase, Philip

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species environmental plantings (native trees and shrubs) can contribute to mitigation of climate change through sequestration of carbon. Although soil carbon sequestration following reforestation has been investigated at site- and regional-scales, there are few studies across regions where the impact of a broad range of site conditions and management practices can be assessed. We collated new and existing data on soil organic carbon (SOC, 0-30 cm depth, N = 117 sites) and litter (N = 106 sites) under mixed-species plantings and an agricultural pair or baseline across southern and eastern Australia. Sites covered a range of previous land uses, initial SOC stocks, climatic conditions and management types. Differences in total SOC stocks following reforestation were significant at 52% of sites, with a mean rate of increase of 0.57 ± 0.06 Mg C ha-1 y-1. Increases were largely in the particulate fraction, which increased significantly at 46% of sites compared with increases at 27% of sites for the humus fraction. Although relative increase was highest in the particulate fraction, the humus fraction was the largest proportion of total SOC and so absolute differences in both fractions were similar. Accumulation rates of carbon in litter were 0.39 ± 0.02 Mg C ha-1 y-1, increasing the total (soil + litter) annual rate of carbon sequestration by 68%. Previously-cropped sites accumulated more SOC than previously-grazed sites. The explained variance differed widely among empirical models of differences in SOC stocks following reforestation according to SOC fraction and depth for previously-grazed (R2 = 0.18-0.51) and previously-cropped (R2 = 0.14-0.60) sites. For previously-grazed sites, differences in SOC following reforestation were negatively related to total SOC in the pasture. By comparison, for previously-cropped sites, differences in SOC were positively related to mean annual rainfall. This improved broad-scale understanding of the magnitude and predictors of changes in stocks of soil and litter C following reforestation is valuable for the development of policy on carbon markets and the establishment of future mixed-species environmental plantings.

AB - Reforestation of agricultural land with mixed-species environmental plantings (native trees and shrubs) can contribute to mitigation of climate change through sequestration of carbon. Although soil carbon sequestration following reforestation has been investigated at site- and regional-scales, there are few studies across regions where the impact of a broad range of site conditions and management practices can be assessed. We collated new and existing data on soil organic carbon (SOC, 0-30 cm depth, N = 117 sites) and litter (N = 106 sites) under mixed-species plantings and an agricultural pair or baseline across southern and eastern Australia. Sites covered a range of previous land uses, initial SOC stocks, climatic conditions and management types. Differences in total SOC stocks following reforestation were significant at 52% of sites, with a mean rate of increase of 0.57 ± 0.06 Mg C ha-1 y-1. Increases were largely in the particulate fraction, which increased significantly at 46% of sites compared with increases at 27% of sites for the humus fraction. Although relative increase was highest in the particulate fraction, the humus fraction was the largest proportion of total SOC and so absolute differences in both fractions were similar. Accumulation rates of carbon in litter were 0.39 ± 0.02 Mg C ha-1 y-1, increasing the total (soil + litter) annual rate of carbon sequestration by 68%. Previously-cropped sites accumulated more SOC than previously-grazed sites. The explained variance differed widely among empirical models of differences in SOC stocks following reforestation according to SOC fraction and depth for previously-grazed (R2 = 0.18-0.51) and previously-cropped (R2 = 0.14-0.60) sites. For previously-grazed sites, differences in SOC following reforestation were negatively related to total SOC in the pasture. By comparison, for previously-cropped sites, differences in SOC were positively related to mean annual rainfall. This improved broad-scale understanding of the magnitude and predictors of changes in stocks of soil and litter C following reforestation is valuable for the development of policy on carbon markets and the establishment of future mixed-species environmental plantings.

U2 - 10.1016/j.agee.2016.04.026

DO - 10.1016/j.agee.2016.04.026

M3 - Article

VL - 227

SP - 61

EP - 72

JO - Agro-Ecosystems

JF - Agro-Ecosystems

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ER -