Skip to Main Content
Soil carbon content and character in an old-growth forest in northwestern Pennsylvania: a case study introducing pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS)Author(s): C.M. Hoover; K.A. Magrini; R.J. Evans
Source: Environmental Pollution. 116: S269-S275.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (113.81 KB)
DescriptionThis study was conducted to: (1) test the utility of a new and rapid analytical method, pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS), for the measurement and characterization of carbon in forest soils, and (2) examine the effects of natural disturbance on soil carbon dynamics. An additional objective was to test the ability of py-MBMS to distinguish recent from more stable humic substances, and to relate this information to the ecology and history of the sites. To test the utility of the py-MBMS technique, we investigated soil carbon stocks in a chronosequence of stands arising from natural disturbance in the Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Areas. Soil carbon increased with increasing time since disturbance; although the exact shape of the carbon accumulation curve is not known, it appears that the rate of carbon accretion is initially rapid and then levels off, with a possible maximum of 86 metric tons/ha to a depth of 30 cm. This study also demonstrates that py-MBMS is a valid method for characterizing soil carbon and can be used with little sample preparation. In addition, multivariate analysis of the mass spectra from Tionesta soils can distinguish both sites and depths on the basis of their pyrolysis products; both long-lived and short-lived carbon forms were identified.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHoover, C.M.; Magrini, K.A.; Evans, R.J. 2002. Soil carbon content and character in an old-growth forest in northwestern Pennsylvania: a case study introducing pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS). Environmental Pollution. 116: S269-S275.
Keywordssoil organic carbon, py-MBMS, soil carbon analysis, forest soils
- Use of pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS) to characterize forest soil carbon: method and preliminary results
- Can portable pyrolysis units make biomass utilization affordable while using bio-char to enhance soil productivity and sequester carbon?
- Divergent carbon dynamics under climate change in forests with diverse soils, tree species, and land use histories
XML: View XML