Matching Items (3)

156978-Thumbnail Image.png

Effects of Grazing Management on Carbon Stocks in an Arid Rangeland

Description

Rangelands are an extensive land cover type that cover about 40% of earth’s ice-free surface, expanding into many biomes. Moreover, managing rangelands is crucial for long-term sustainability of the vital

Rangelands are an extensive land cover type that cover about 40% of earth’s ice-free surface, expanding into many biomes. Moreover, managing rangelands is crucial for long-term sustainability of the vital ecosystem services they provide including carbon (C) storage via soil organic carbon (SOC) and animal agriculture. Arid rangelands are particularly susceptible to dramatic shifts in vegetation cover, physical and chemical soil properties, and erosion due to grazing pressure. Many studies have documented these effects, but studies focusing on grazing impacts on soil properties, namely SOC, are less common. Furthermore, studies testing effects of different levels of grazing intensities on SOC pools and distribution yield mixed results with little alignment. The primary objective of this thesis was to have a better understanding of the role of grazing intensity on arid rangeland soil C storage. I conducted research in long established pastures in Jornada Experimental Range (JER). I established a 1500m transect in three pastures originating at water points and analyzed vegetation cover and SOC on points along these transects to see the effect of grazing on C storage on a grazing gradient. I used the line-point intercept method to measure and categorize vegetation into grass, bare, and shrub. Since soil adjacent to each of these three cover types will likely contain differing SOC content, I then used this vegetation cover data to calculate the contribution of each cover type to SOC. I found shrub cover and total vegetation cover to decrease, while grass and bare cover increased with decreasing proximity to the water source. I found areal (g/m2) and percent (go SOC to be highest in the first 200m of the transects when accounting for the contribution of the three vegetation cover types. I concluded that SOC is being redistributed toward the water source via foraging and defecation and foraging, due to a negative trend of both total vegetation cover and percent SOC (g/g). With the decreasing trends of vegetation cover and SOC further from pasture water sources, my thesis research contributes to the understanding of storage and distribution of SOC stocks in arid rangelands.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

157859-Thumbnail Image.png

Soil Microbial Responses to Different Precipitation Regimes Across a Southwestern United States Elevation Gradient

Description

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a critical component of the global carbon (C) cycle, accounting for more C than the biotic and atmospheric pools combined. Microbes play an important role

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a critical component of the global carbon (C) cycle, accounting for more C than the biotic and atmospheric pools combined. Microbes play an important role in soil C cycling, with abiotic conditions such as soil moisture and temperature governing microbial activity and subsequent soil C processes. Predictions for future climate include warmer temperatures and altered precipitation regimes, suggesting impacts on future soil C cycling. However, it is uncertain how soil microbial communities and subsequent soil organic carbon pools will respond to these changes, particularly in dryland ecosystems. A knowledge gap exists in soil microbial community responses to short- versus long-term precipitation alteration in dryland systems. Assessing soil C cycle processes and microbial community responses under current and altered precipitation patterns will aid in understanding how C pools and cycling might be altered by climate change. This study investigates how soil microbial communities are influenced by established climate regimes and extreme changes in short-term precipitation patterns across a 1000 m elevation gradient in northern Arizona, where precipitation increases with elevation. Precipitation was manipulated (50% addition and 50% exclusion of ambient rainfall) for two summer rainy seasons at five sites across the elevation gradient. In situ and ex situ soil CO2 flux, microbial biomass C, extracellular enzyme activity, and SOC were measured in precipitation treatments in all sites. Soil CO2 flux, microbial biomass C, extracellular enzyme activity, and SOC were highest at the three highest elevation sites compared to the two lowest elevation sites. Within sites, precipitation treatments did not change microbial biomass C, extracellular enzyme activity, and SOC. Soil CO2 flux was greater under precipitation addition treatments than exclusion treatments at both the highest elevation site and second lowest elevation site. Ex situ respiration differed among the precipitation treatments only at the lowest elevation site, where respiration was enhanced in the precipitation addition plots. These results suggest soil C cycling will respond to long-term changes in precipitation, but pools and fluxes of carbon will likely show site-specific sensitivities to short-term precipitation patterns that are also expected with climate change.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

156832-Thumbnail Image.png

Vegetation Controls on Erosion, Soil Organic Carbon Pools, and Soil Nitrogen Pools in a Dryland Ecosystem

Description

Drylands (arid and semi-arid grassland ecosystems) cover about 40% of the Earth's surface and support over 40% of the human population, most of which is in emerging economies. Human development

Drylands (arid and semi-arid grassland ecosystems) cover about 40% of the Earth's surface and support over 40% of the human population, most of which is in emerging economies. Human development of drylands leads to topsoil loss, and over the last 160 years, woody plants have encroached on drylands, both of which have implications for maintaining soil viability. Understanding the spatial variability in erosion and soil organic carbon and total nitrogen under varying geomorphic and biotic forcing in drylands is therefore of paramount importance. This study focuses on how two plants, palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla, nitrogen-fixing) and jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis, non-nitrogen fixing), affect sediment transport and soil organic carbon and total nitrogen pools in a dryland environment north of Phoenix, Arizona. Bulk samples were systematically collected from the top 10 cm of soil in twelve catenae to control for the existence and type of plants, location to canopy (sub- or intercanopy, up- or downslope), aspect, and distance from the divide. Samples were measured for soil organic carbon and total nitrogen and an unmanned aerial system-derived digital elevation map of the field site was created for spatial analysis. A subset of the samples was measured for the short-lived isotopes 137Cs and 210Pbex, which serve as proxy erosion rates. Erosional soils were found to have less organic carbon and total nitrogen than depositional soils. There were clear differences in the data between the two plant types: jojoba catenae had higher short-lived isotope activity, lower carbon and nitrogen, and smaller canopies than those of palo verde, suggesting lower erosion rates and nutrient contributions from jojoba plants. This research quantifies the importance of biota on influencing hillslope and soil dynamics in a semi-arid field site in central AZ and finishes with a discussion on the global implications for soil sustainability.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018