Soil System Sciences

Monday paper: Changes in soil carbon sequestration in Pinus massoniana forests along an urban-to-rural gradient of southern China

Chen, H., Zhang, W., Gilliam, F., Liu, L., Huang, J., Zhang, T., Wang, W., Mo, J. 2013.  Changes in soil carbon sequestration inPinus massoniana forests along an urban-to-rural gradient of southern China. Biogeosciences 10, 6609-6616. DOI: 10.5194/bg-10-6609-2013


Urbanization is accelerating globally, causing a variety of environmental changes such as increases in air temperature, precipitation, atmospheric CO2, and nitrogen (N) deposition. However, the effects of these changes on forest soil carbon (C) sequestration remain largely unclear. Here, we used urban-to-rural environmental gradients in Guangdong Province, southern China, to address the potential effects of these environmental changes on soil C sequestration in Pinus massoniana forests. In contrast to our expectations and earlier observations, soil C content in urban sites was significantly lower than that in suburban and rural sites. Lower soil C pools in urban sites were correlated with a significant decrease in fine root biomass and a potential increase in soil organic C decomposition. Variation of soil C pools was also a function of change in soil C fractions. Heavy fraction C content in urban sites was significantly lower than that in suburban and rural sites. By contrast, light fraction C content did not vary significantly along the urban-to-rural gradient. Our results suggest that urbanization-induced environmental changes may have a negative effect on forest soil C in the studied region.

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Biogeosciences (BG) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical processes in terrestrial or extraterrestrial life with the geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The objective of the journal is to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions. Experimental, conceptual and modelling approaches are welcome. More at Biogeosciences homepage.

Antonio Jordán is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Seville and coordinator of the MED Soil Research Group. Antonio’s research focusses on rainfall-induced soil erosion processes, the effects of wildfires on soil properties and soil degradation in Mediterranean areas. He is an active members of the Soil System Sciences (SSS) Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which coordinates the scientific programme on soil sciences.