Soil carbon content correlates with its water and nutrient holding capacities, biodiversity, and ultimately what is called “soil health”. In both forests and rangelands, progressive management techniques are considered those that preserve or build soil carbon stock.
|Natural bottomland hardwood forest in NC||Loblolly pine plantation after thinning in NC||Fire-managed shortleaf pine in Davy Crockett National Forest, TX|
Many pine forests in the Southern USA are burned regularly for managing the fuel load and reducing the risk of wildfires, as well as for managing the habitat for some wildlife species, like the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
We developed a conceptual model that allows the estimation of belowground carbon allocation at high temporal resolution (monthly to seasonal), and are currently testing its performance in different ecosystems.
The relative importance of coarse roots to long-lived soil carbon remains unclear. Anecdotal evidence of intact old roots in the soil does not fit with published decomposition constants and the chemical evidence suggesting that the majority of “old” soil carbon consisting of fungal
Droughts represent the biggest, most widespread and immediate disturbance to terrestrial ecosystems. Drought not only slows plant growth, but also renders them more vulnerable to subsequent pest and pathogen attacks, and alters plant resource allocation patterns. Nutrient availability, too, alters carbon allocation in plants, and appears to supersede the controls by water availability. To fully understand the controls of plant physiological processes by these two essential resources, we work with the PINEMAP Tier 3 experimental dataset on productivity and soil carbon dynamics.
Net ecosystem fluxes of carbon and water are sums of multiple individual processes, each with potentially different environmental responses. We quantify the seasonality of a number of sub-processes to better validate the seasonality of ecosystem models.
Cover image of the book “Phenology of Ecosystem Processes“
Flux seasonality metrics (Yang & Noormets 2021)
Valuation of soil carbon and other ecosystem services
Soil carbon content is an integral measure of soil health, yet generally undervalued in land use decisions. We use a few well characterized sites to quantify soil carbon cost of different management choices, and derive the value of existing soil carbon pools for these ecosystems in terms of merchantable products.
External project web pages