Carbon sequestration in soil in a semi-natural Miscanthus sinensis grassland and Cryptomeria japonica forest plantation in Aso, Kumamoto, Japan

Yo Toma, Kevin Armstrong, J. Ryan Stewart, Toshihiko Yamada, Aya Nishiwaki, Fabián G. Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although Miscanthus sinensis grasslands (Misc-GL) and Cryptomeria japonica forest plantations (Cryp-FP) are proposed bioenergy feedstock systems, their relative capacity to sequester C may be an important factor in determining their potential for sustainable bioenergy production. Therefore, our objective was to quantify changes in soil C sequestration 47 years after a Misc-GL was converted to a Cryp-FP. The study was conducted on adjacent Misc-GL and Cryp-FP located on Mt. Aso, Kumamoto, Japan. After Cryp-FP establishment, only the Misc-GL continued to be managed by annual burning every March. Mass C and N, δ13C, and δ15N at 0-30 cm depth were measured in 5 cm increments. Carbon and N concentrations, C:N ratio, δ13C, and δ15N were measured in litter and/or ash, and rhizomes or roots. Although C input in Misc-GL by M. sinensis was approximately 36% of that in Cryp-FP by C. japonica, mean annual soil C sequestration in Misc-GL (503 kg C ha-1 yr-1) was higher than that in Cryp-FP (284 kg C ha-1 yr-1). This was likely the result of larger C input from aboveground litter to soil, C-quality (C:N ratio and lignin concentration in aboveground litter) and possibly more recalcitrant C (charcoal) inputs by annual burning. The difference in soil δ15N between sites indicated that organic C with N had greater cycling between heterotrophic microbes and soil and produces more recalcitrant humus in Misc-GL than in Cryp-FP. Our data indicate that in terms of soil C sequestration, maintenance of Misc-GL may be more advantageous than conversion to Cryp-FP in Aso, Japan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-575
Number of pages10
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Volume4
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Cryptomeria japonica
  • Miscanthus sinensis
  • Soil

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