Contribution and stability of forest-derived soil organic carbon during woody encroachment in a tropical savanna. A case study in Gabon
Chiti T, Rey A, Jeffery K, Lauteri M, Mihindou V, Malhi Y, Marzaioli F, White LJT & Valentini R (2018) Contribution and stability of forest-derived soil organic carbon during woody encroachment in a tropical savanna. A case study in Gabon. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 54 (8), pp. 897-907. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-018-1313-6
In this study, we quantified the contribution of forest-derived carbon (FDC) to the soil organic C (SOC) pool along a natural succession from savanna (S) to mixed Marantaceae forest (MMF) in the Lopè National Park, Gabon. Four 1-ha plots, corresponding to different stages along the natural succession, were used to determine the SOC stock and soil C isotope composition (δ13C) to derive the FDC contribution in different soil layers down to 1 m depth. Besides, to investigate changes in SOC stability, we determined the 14C concentration of SOC to 30 cm depth and derived turnover time (TT). Results indicated that SOC increased only at the end of the succession in the MMF stage, which stored 46% more SOC (41 Mg C ha−1) in the 0–30 cm depth than the S stage (28.8 Mg C ha−1). The FDC contribution increased along forest succession affecting mainly the top layers of the initial successional stages to 15 cm depth and reaching 70 cm depth in the MMF stage. The TT suggests a small increase in stability in the 0–5 cm layer from S (146 years) to MMF (157 years) stages. Below 5 cm, the increase in stability was high, suggesting that FDC can remain in soils for a much longer time than savanna-derived C. In conclusion, the natural succession toward Marantaceae forests can positively impact climate change resulting in large SOC stocks, which can be removed from the atmosphere and stored for a much longer time in forest soils compared to savanna soils.
Radiocarbon; Stable carbon isotopes; Tropical soils; Woody encroachment
Biology and Fertility of Soils: Volume 54, Issue 8
|Funders||Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux and European Commission|
|Date accepted by journal||14/09/2018|