Skip to Main Content
Atypical soil carbon distribution across a tropical steepland forest catenaAuthor(s): Kristofer D. Johnson; F.N. Scatena; Whendee L. Silver
Source: Catena. 87: 391-397.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (540.49 KB)
DescriptionSoil organic carbon (SOC) in a humid subtropical forest in Puerto Rico is higher at ridge locations compared to valleys, and therefore opposite to what is commonly observed in other forested hillslope catenas. To better understand the spatial distribution of SOC in this system, plots previously characterized by topographic position, vegetation type and stand age were related to soil depth and SOC. Additional factors were also investigated, including topographically-related differences in litter dynamics and soil chemistry. To investigate the influence of litter dynamics, the Century soil organic model was parameterized to simulate the effect of substituting valley species for ridge species. Soil chemical controls on C concentrations were investigated with multiple linear regression models using iron, aluminum and clay variables. Deeper soils were associated with indicators of higher landscape stability (older tabonuco stands established on ridges and slopes), while shallower soils persisted in more disturbed areas (younger non-tabonuco stands in valleys and on slopes). Soil depth alone accounted for 77% of the observed difference in the mean 0 to 60 cmSOC between ridge soils (deeper) and valley soils (shallower). The remaining differences in SOC were due to additional factors that lowered C concentrations at valley locations in the 0 to 10 cm pool. Model simulations showed a slight decrease in SOC when lower litter C:N was substituted for higher litter C:N, but the effects of different woody inputs on SOC were unclear. Multiple linear regression models with ammonium oxalate extractable iron and aluminum, dithionite–citrate-extractable iron and aluminum, and clay contents explained as much as 74% of the variation in C concentrations, and indicated that organo-mineral complexation may be more limited in poorly developed valley soils. Thus, topography both directly and indirectly affects SOC pools through a variety of inter-related processes that are often not quantified or captured in terrestrial carbon models.
- 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, email@example.com 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.
CitationJohnson, Kristofer D.; Scatena, Frederick N.; Silver, Whendee L. 2011. Atypical soil carbon distribution across a tropical steepland forest catena. Catena. 87: 391-397.
KeywordsSoil carbon, Tropical steepland forest, Soil forming factors, Organo-mineral complexation, Topographic and vegetation interactions
- Ordinal abundance and richness of millipedes (Arthropoda: Diplopoda) in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico
- Variation in nutrient characteristics of surface soils from the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico: A multivariate perspective.
- Vertical distribution and persistence of soil organic carbon in fire-adapted longleaf pine forests
XML: View XML