Source and Accumulation of Soil Carbon along Catena Toposequences over 12,000 Years in Three Semi-Natural Miscanthus sinensis Grasslands in Japan

David S. Howlett, J. Ryan Stewart, Jun Inoue, Masanori Saito, Dokyoung Lee, Hong Wang, Toshihiko Yamada, Aya Nishiwaki, Fabián G. Fernández, Yo Toma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Miscanthus-dominated semi-natural grasslands in Japan appear to store considerable amounts of soil C. To estimate the long-term effect of Miscanthus vegetation on the accumulation of soil carbon by soil biota degradation in its native range, we measured total soil C from the surface to a 1.2 m depth along a catena toposequence in three annually burned grasslands in Japan: Kawatabi, Soni, and Aso. Soil C stock was estimated using a radiocarbon age and depth model, resulting in a net soil C accumulation rate in the soil. C4-plant contribution to soil C accumulation was further estimated by δ13C of soil C. The range of total soil C varied among the sites (i.e., Kawatabi: 379–638 Mg, Soni: 249–484, and Aso: 372–408 Mg C ha−1). Catena position was a significant factor at Kawatabi and Soni, where the toe slope soil C accumulation exceeded that of the summit. The soil C accumulation rate of the whole horizon in the grasslands, derived C mainly from C4 plant species, was 0.05 ± 0.02 (Average ± SE), 0.04 ± 0.00, and 0.24 ± 0.04 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 in Kawatabi, Soni, and Aso, respectively. Potential exists for long-term sequestration of C under M. sinensis, but the difference in the C accumulation rate can be influenced by the catena position and the amount of vegetation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project was funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois through a grant from the British Petroleum Corporation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • C grasses
  • Catena
  • Miscanthus sinensis
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Soil carbon

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