Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Solid Earth, 6, 1103–1115, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-6-1103-2015
Solid Earth, 6, 1103–1115, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-6-1103-2015

Research article 07 Oct 2015

Research article | 07 Oct 2015

Land use effects on soil organic carbon sequestration in calcareous Leptosols in former pastureland – a case study from the Tatra Mountains (Poland)

K. Wasak and M. Drewnik K. Wasak and M. Drewnik
  • Jagiellonian University, Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Department of Pedology and Soil Geography, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland

Abstract. The purpose of the paper is to describe soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rates in calcareous shallow soils in reforested areas in the Tatra Mountains with a particular focus on different forms of organic matter (OM) storage. Three plant communities creating a mosaic on the slopes of the studied valley were taken into account.

Fifty years since the conversion of pastureland to unused grassland, dwarf pine shrub and larch forest have emerged in the study area, along with the development of genetic soil horizons as well as SOC sequestration in the soil despite the steepness of slopes. SOC stock was measured to be the highest in soils under larch forest (63.5 Mg ha−1), while in soil under grassland and under dwarf pine shrub, this value was found to be smaller (47.5 and 42.9 Mg ha−1, respectively).

The highest amount of mineral-associated OM inside stable microaggregates (MOM FF3) was found in grassland soil (21.9–27.1 % of SOC) and less under dwarf pine shrub (16.3–19.3 % of SOC) and larch forest (15.3–17.7 % of SOC). A pool of mineral-associated OM inside transitional macroaggregates (MOM FF2) was found in soil under dwarf pine shrub (39.2–59.2 % of SOC), with less under larch forest (43.8–44.7 % of SOC) and the least in grassland soil (37.9–41.6 % of SOC). The highest amount of the free light particulate fraction (POM LF1) was found in soil under dwarf pine shrub (6.6–10.3 % of SOC), with less under larch forest (2.6–6.2 % of SOC) and the least in grassland soil (1.7–4.8 % of SOC).

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Short summary
The paper shows soil organic carbon sequestration (SOC) rates in calcareous shallow soils in reforested areas in the Tatra Mts., with a particular focus on the different forms of organic matter (OM) storage. Fifty years after the conversion of pastureland to grassland, the emergence of dwarf pine shrub, larch forest, the development of genetic soil horizons as well as SOC sequestration and the occurrence of OM forms in soil, are related to plant community.