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Soil carbon stock in relation to soil properties and landscape position in a forest ecosystem of southern Italy (Calabria region)

Conforti, Massimo, Lucà, Federica, Scarciglia, Fabio, Matteucci, Giorgio, Buttafuoco, Gabriele
Catena 2016 v.144 pp. 23-33
Entisols, Inceptisols, bulk density, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, carbon sinks, coarse-textured soils, fine-textured soils, forest ecosystems, forest soils, forests, landscape position, nitrogen, organic horizons, pH, parent rock, physiographic soil types, soil organic carbon, soil profiles, soil properties, texture, Italy
Carbon (C) storage in forest soils is of great importance both to forest ecosystems and to reduce the CO2 in atmosphere. Knowledge of spatial pattern of soil organic carbon (SOC) and the factors influencing it in various soil-landscapes are essential for understanding global C cycle.The objective of this study was to investigate at profile scale SOC stock in a forested area of southern Italy (Calabria) in relation to soil properties and landscape position. Twenty-eight soil profiles were sampled to cover all soil types and physiographic units of the study area and each horizon was sampled and characterized for its physical-chemical properties (bulk density, texture, pH, SOC, and nitrogen). Moreover, the organic horizon (O) was sampled and SOC concentration was determined. Then, the SOC stock for the organic layer and mineral horizons was calculated.Soils developed in the study area belong to the Inceptisol and Entisol orders varying from shallow to moderately deep, with chemical and physical characteristics mainly controlled by granitic parent rock. SOC stock for the organic layer varied from 3Mgha−1 to 6Mgha−1 whereas for mineral horizons ranged between 20.2Mgha−1 and 310.9Mgha−1.The results showed a different behaviour of physical-chemical properties and carbon storage for coarse-textured soils and more fine-textured soils. In addition, soil types and topographic features such as slope gradient, slope curvature and landscape position controlled SOC stored in mineral horizons through changes in both in-depth variability of SOC concentration and profile thickness. In particular, higher SOC stocks were recorded in flat areas than on steep slopes, and Inceptisols developed on slopes with concave morphology exhibited higher values than Entisols located on convex slope.