Issue 19, September 2010
Special issue: Soil Carbon
In this issue
This issue of Soil Horizons reports on our soil carbon (C) research addressing the need to enhance the terrestrial C pool and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere.
Peter Stephens 1946–2010
We would like to pay tribute to Peter, who died earlier this year. He was a much respected colleague and friend, and a number of Peter’s close colleagues have contributed to these words.
Effects of mass-movement erosion
The Soil Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) estimates soil C stocks for each land use in New Zealand to determine the effect of changes in land use on soil C.
A High Country C monitoring project
A MAF Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) grant and other organisations have supported us to investigate the effects of grazing on ecosystem C stocks in South Island High Country grasslands.
C storage in Allophanic soils: possibilities and challenges
Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere remains a huge challenge for the 21st century. Maintaining or increasing C storage in soil is of fundamental importance in dealing with this challenge.
Proximal soil spectroscopy for soil C estimation and mapping
Soil samples in the New Zealand National Soil Archive are being scanned to collect visible-near infrared (Vis-NIR) soil spectra. The Archive contains approximately 25 000 soil samples, dating from 1939, and is housed near our Palmerston North site.
Soil form, carbon storage and stabilisation
Soil C can change under different land uses. For example, soil C has been shown to decline with intensification of dairy farming on flat land, and with irrigation in Canterbury.
Changes in soil organic matter under pasture over the last 27 years
Roger Parfitt and colleagues from Landcare Research, GNS and University of Waikato have measured soil C under the same dairy and sheep/beef pasture sites on three occasions over the last 27 years.
Land use and soil type affect soil C – lessons from 15 years of soil quality monitoring
The ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) is now a reality, and C accounting is more important than ever. Accounting for all the soil C and how it changes over time is not an easy task.
Soil erosion in New Zealand is sinking carbon (C) at 3 million tonnes per year
Over two hundred million tonnes of sediment are lost from New Zealand to the ocean every year, primarily during storms. Intense rainfall erodes soil from steep slopes and this ends up in waterways as sediment.
Quantifying the loss of soil C from soil organic matter, as a consequence of climate or land-use change
Soils are the largest pool of C in terrestrial ecosystems, and some of the C in soil organic matter is resistant to decomposition, taking from decades to millennia to decompose (hence its description as ‘historical’ C).
Soaking up the veterinary antibiotics through black C
‘Black carbon’ (i.e. char, charcoal, and soot) is a high C-rich material and has a significant influence on the mobility and retention of chemicals in soils.
Effects of monthly versus annual mean temperature data for modelling soil organic matter decomposition
Global models generally agree that warming will lead to a loss of soil organic C, while increasing CO2 is expected to stimulate plant net primary productivity and increase C stocks. However, predictions of the combined effect of increased CO2 and climate change vary greatly between models.