Soil aggregate-associated organic carbon dynamics subjected to different types of land use: Evidence from 13C natural abundance

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Liu, Y., Liu, W., Wu, L., Liu, C., Wang, L., Chen, F. and Li, Z. 2018. Soil aggregate-associated organic carbon dynamics subjected to different types of land use: Evidence from 13C natural abundance. Ecological Engineering. 122 (15 October), pp. 295-302.

AuthorsLiu, Y., Liu, W., Wu, L., Liu, C., Wang, L., Chen, F. and Li, Z.
Abstract

The technique of 13C natural abundance provides new information that can be applied to study carbon (C) incorporation into soil aggregates and to improve our understanding of the aggregate hierarchy theory. The organic matter (OM) in soil undergoes microbial decomposition, which preferentially removes the lighter 12C isotope, enriching the remaining soil in the heavier 13C isotope. We hypothesized that the soil aggregate turnover would gradually lead to C isotope fractionation, and changes in the 13C natural abundance are closely linked to C turnover that, in turn, is influenced by aggregates turnover. We examined how land use affects soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics in soil aggregate with the following objectives: (1) evaluate the influence of land uses (woodland, orchard, paddy and upland) on aggregate-associated C isotope compositions and the distribution of new and old SOC in the Danjiangkou Reservoir area of central China, and (2) propose an extended scheme of C transfers between the aggregate size classes. The results showed that SOC content in aggregates generally increased with increasing aggregate size but the δ13C values of aggregates decreased. The SOC contents in bulk soil decreased in the order of paddy > woodland > upland > orchard. The most negative δ13C values in bulk soil and aggregates were observed in the paddy and woodland soils, whereas maximum δ13C values were obtained in the orchard and upland soils. The stable C isotope results suggest that SOC sequestration of fresh OM generally starts in macro-aggregates (>0.25 mm), and, after disaggregation processes and microbiological consumption, the resulting degraded OM is sequestered in micro-aggregates (<0.25 mm). This general trend is consistent with the concept of SOM stabilization by association with aggregate hierarchy theory. We conclude that different land uses and management practices significantly affect C incorporation in the aggregate system and C transfer in soil aggregates was considerably greater in the orchard and upland soils than in the woodland and paddy soils. These findings help improve the theory of soil aggregates.

KeywordsSoil aggregate; Land use ; Stable carbon isotopes; Organic carbon dynamic
Year of Publication2018
JournalEcological Engineering
Journal citation122 (15 October), pp. 295-302
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2018.08.018
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Aug 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Aug 2018
Copyright licensePublisher copyright
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
ISSN0925-8574

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