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Soil organic carbon sequestration under an established Miscanthus system

Marta Dondini

Marta Dondini

dondinim@tcd.ie

Supervisor: Prof. Mike Jones

Soil carbon sequestration implies transferring atmospheric CO2 into long-lived pools and storing it securely so that it is not immediately re-emitted. The impact of land use change and management on soil organic C stocks has tremendous implications for soil quality improvement and sustainability, as well as a role in the mitigation of carbon emissions. Particularly, perennial bioenergy crops as Miscanthus x giganteus, established on cultivated land, seem to be able to sequester carbon in the soil. Physical soil organic matter (SOM) fractionation can help to study C sequestration, as it enables to identify small shifts in soil C stores that would be significant in the long term. It has been shown that particulate organic matter C provides an early indication of changes in C dynamics and total soil C under different agricultural management. By using these indicators as an input for soil C models, it is possible to predict the long term potential for soil C storage following changes in land use.  The aim of this study is to trace new C input in different soil fractions under Miscanthus, by combining the size and density fractionation method with 13C natural abundance analyses. Moreover, we aim to compare the size and density fractionation method with other fractionation techniques in their ability to extract SOM pools that match theoretical pools in soil C models (e.g. RothC).

Publications:

Dondini M, Van Groenigen KJ, Del Galdo I, Jones MB (2009) Carbon sequestration under Miscanthus: a study of 13C distribution in soil aggregates. Global Change Biology-Bioenergy (in press).

Dondini, M., Hastings, A., Saiz, G., Jones, M.B., Smith, P. (2009) The potential of Miscanthus to sequester carbon in soils: comparing field measurements in Carlow, Ireland to model predictions. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy 1, 413-425.

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Last updated 1 June 2010 botany@tcd.ie.