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    Author(s): P.S. Homann; S.M. Remillard; M.E. Harmon; B.T. Bormann
    Date: 2004
    Source: Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68: 2023-2030
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.1 MB)


    Many assessments of soil C have been restricted to the <2-mm fraction, but C has recently been identified in >2-mm fractions of forest mineral soils. Our objective was to determine the importance of the >2mm fraction to whole-soil C pools in Pacific Northwest old-growth coniferous forests. Seventy-nine pedons in 18 western Washington and Oregon forests were sampled to a depth of 100 cm. The <2-mm fraction was separated from the >2-mm fraction by airdrying, physically crushing soil, and sieving; C was determined by Leco combustion. The >2-mm fraction contained up to 46% of the whole-soil C and averaged 23% for the seven forests that had C in that fraction. Following treatment with sodium hexametaphosphate to disaggregate soil material, up to 20% of whole-soil C remained in the >2-mm fraction Thus, the >2-mm fraction C appears to be in stable and unstable aggregates, as well as concretions. The whole-soil C in the surface 100 cm of mineral soil ranged from 30 to 400 Mg C ha-1. Multiple regression analysis indicated this C pool was positively related to available water capacity, annual precipitation, and coarse woody debris (r2 = 0.63 to 0.66, n = 18 forests). Similar results were obtained with only the <2-mm soil C, which is the basis of previous regional evaluations. This suggests consideration of the >2-mm fraction does not alter our understanding of the importance of climate and soil texture as controls of soil C pools, but it does affect the quantification of soil C pools in many old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

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    Homann, P.S.; Remillard, S.M.; Harmon, M.E.; Bormann, B.T. 2004. Carbon storage in coarse and fine fractions of Pacific Northwest old-growth forest soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68: 2023-2030

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