carbon budget

Vertical Stratification of δ 13C Values in Closed Natural and Plantation Forests in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico

MEDINA, E., L. STERNBERG, and E. CUEVAS. 1991. Vertical stratification of delta-C-13 values in closed natural and plantation forests in the luquillo mountains, puerto-rico. Oecologia 87 (3): 369-72.

The variability of 13C values was measured in leaf, stem and root tissues of several tree species growing in closed natural and plantation forests in the Luquillo mountains of Puerto Rico. Results confirm a significant decrease of <513C values from the tree canopy to the forest floor. The values measured in understory plants growing in gaps were not significantly different from the average for plants growing under the forest shade. Seedling leaf values tended to be more positive than those of saplings, probably reflecting the contribution of organic matter from the mother tree. Photosynthetic independence on the forest floor results in a reduction in ?13C value. Stem and root tissue values of seedlings and saplings were less negative than those of the leaves of the same plants. It is suggested that this difference results from the slower change in isotopie composition experienced by the woody tissue, as the seedlings become photosynthetically independent in the forest floor.

Greater Soil Carbon Sequestration under Nitrogen-Fixing Trees Compared with Eucalyptus Species

Resh, SC, D. Binkley, and JA Parrotta. 2002. Greater soil carbon sequestration under nitrogen-fixing trees compared with eucalyptus species RID A-2703-2010. Ecosystems 5 (3) (APR): 217-31.

Forests with nitrogen-fixing trees (N-fixers) typically accumulate more carbon (C) in soils than similar forests without N-fixing trees. This difference may develop from fundamentally different processes, with either greater accumulation of recently fixed C or reduced decomposition of older soil C. We compared the soil C pools under N-fixers with Eucalyptus (non-N-fixers) at four tropical sites: two sites on Andisol soils in Hawaii and two sites on Vertisol and Entisol soils in Puerto Rico. Using stable carbon isotope techniques, we tracked the loss of the old soil organic C from the previous C4 land use (SOC4) and the gain of new soil organic C from the C3, N-fixer, and non-N-fixer plantations (SOC3). Soils beneath N-fixing trees sequestered 0.11 + 0.07 kg m-2 y-' (mean ± one standard error) of total soil organic carbon (SOCT) compared with no change under Eucalyptus( 0.00 ± 0.07 kg m-2 y-1; P = 0.02). About 55% of the greater SOCT sequestration under the N-fixers resulted from greater retention of old SOC4, and 45% resulted from greater accretion of new SOC3. Soil N accretion under the N-fixers explained 62% of the variability of the greater retention of old SOC4 under the N-fixers. The greater retention of older soil C under N-fixing trees is a novel finding and may be important for strategies that use reforestation or afforestation to offset C emissions.

Carbon Sequestration and Plan Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture

Silver W.L., Kuppers L.M., Lugo A.E. et al. Carbon Sequestration and Plan Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture. Ecological Applications, Vol 14(4), 2004 pp 1115-1127.

Conversion of abandoned cattle pastures to secondary forests and plantations in the tropics has been proposed as a means to increase rates of carbon (C) sequestration from the atmosphere and enhance local biodiversity. We used a long-term tropical reforestation project (55–61 yr) to estimate rates of above- and belowground C sequestration and to investigate the impact of planted species on overall plant community structure. Thirteen tree species (nine native and four nonnative species) were planted as part of the reforestation effort in the mid to late 1930s. In 1992, there were 75 tree species (.9.1 cm dbh) in the forest. Overall, planted species accounted for 40% of the importance value of the forest; planted nonnative species contributed only 5% of the importance value. In the reforested ecosystem, the total soil C pool (0–60 cm depth) was larger than the aboveground C pool, and there was more soil C in the forest (102 6 10 Mg/ha [mean 6 1 SE]) than in an adjacent pasture of similar age (69 6 16 Mg/ha). Forest soil C (C3-C) increased at a rate of ;0.9 Mg·ha21·yr21, but residual pasture C (C4-C) was lost at a rate of 0.4 Mg·ha21·yr21, yielding a net gain of 33 Mg/ha as a result of 61 years of forest regrowth. Aboveground C accumulated at a rate of 1.4 6 0.05 Mg·ha21·yr21, to a total of 80 6 3 Mg/ha. A survey of 426 merchantable trees in 1959 and 1992 showed that they grew faster in the second 33 years of forest development than in the first 22 years, indicating that later stages of forest development can play an important role in C sequestration. Few indices of C cycling were correlated with plant community composition or structure. Our results indicate that significant soil C can accumulate with reforestation and that there are strong legacies of pasture use and reforestation in plant community structure and rates of plant C sequestration.

Mineralogy of Soils Overlying the Two Main Geologic Provinces of the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Wang Z.. Mineralogy of Soils Overlying the Two Main Geologic Provinces of the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. A Master Thesis. University of Pennsylvania, 2011.

A total of twenty 0-20cm soil samples from the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, have been analyzed using XRD analysis to determine their mineral content. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data show that all the samples contain quartz, orthoclase, kaolinite, dickite, halloysite and nicrite, gibbsite, augelite, metavariscite, goethite, tsaregorodtsevite, apophylite. Soil sample from Oxisols sites contain higher percentage of clay minerals than the samples from Dystrudepts sites. Furthermore, the general pattern of the percentage of total clays, feldspars, and gibbsite within each and between transects suggest that soils in the valleys are more weathered and leached than soils from ridges. The percentage increase of phosphate minerals in the soils follow that of clay minerals which is most probably due to the attachment of the phosphate minerals to clay mineral surfaces. The presence of the organic cation Tetramethylammonium in the cavities between the oxygen-silicon tetrahedra of the tsaregorodtsevite structure (feldsphoid-zeolitic structure) is consistent with a low energy mechanism for the sequestration of carbon and nitrogen in the EYNF soils.

Trends and scenarios of the carbon budget in postagricultural Puerto Rico (1936–2060)

Grau, H. R., T. M. Aide, J. K. Zimmerman, and J. R.
Thomlinson. 2004. Trends and scenarios of the carbon
budget in post-agricultural Puerto Rico (1936–2060). Global
Change Biology 10:1163–1179.

Contrary to the general trend in the tropics, Puerto Rico underwent a process of agriculture abandonment during the second half of the 20th century as a consequence of socioeconomic changes toward urbanization and industrialization. Using data on landuse change, biomass accumulation in secondary forests, and ratios between gross domestic product (GDP) and carbon emissions, we developed a model of the carbon budget for Puerto Rico between 1936 and 2060. As a consequence of land abandonment, forests have expanded rapidly since 1950, achieving the highest sequestration rates between 1980 and 1990. Regardless of future scenarios of demography and land use, sequestration rates will decrease in the future because biomass accumulation decreases with forest age and there is little agricultural land remaining to be abandoned. Due to high per-capita consumption and population density, carbon emissions of Puerto Rico have increased dramatically and exceeded carbon sequestration during the second half of the 20th century. Although Puerto Rico had the highest percent of reforestation for a tropical country, emissions during the period 1950–2000 were approximately 3.5 times higher than sequestration, and current annual emission is almost nine times the rate of sequestration. Additionally, while sequestration will decrease over the next six decades, current socioeconomic trends suggest increasing emissions unless there are significant changes in energy technology or consumption patterns. In conclusion, socioeconomic changes leading to urbanization and industrialization in tropical countries may promote high rates of carbon sequestration during the decades following land abandonment. Initial high rates of carbon sequestration can balance emissions of developing countries with low emission/GDP ratio. In Puerto Rico, the socioeconomic changes that promoted reforestation also promoted high-energy consumption, and resulted in a net increase in carbon emissions.

Effects of nutrient additions on ecosystem carbon cycle in a Puerto Rican tropical wet forest

LI, YIQING; XU, MING; ZOU, XIAOMING 2006. Effects of nutrient additions on ecosystem carbon cycle in a Puerto Rican tropical wet forest. Global Change Biology 11, :1-10,.

Wet tropical forests play a critical role in global ecosystem carbon (C) cycle, but C allocation and the response of different C pools to nutrient addition in these forests remain poorly understood. We measured soil organic carbon (SOC), litterfall, root biomass, microbial biomass and soil physical and chemical properties in a wet tropical forest from May 1996 to July 1997 following a 7-year continuous fertilization. We found that although there was no significant difference in total SOC in the top 0–10cm of the soils between the fertilization plots (5.42  0.18 kgm2) and the control plots (5.27  0.22 kgm2), the proportion of the heavy-fraction organic C in the total SOC was significantly higher in the fertilized plots (59%) than in the control plots (46%) (Po0.05). The annual decomposition rate of fertilized leaf litter was 13% higher than that of the control leaf litter.We also found that fertilization significantly increased microbial biomass (fungi1bacteria) with 952  48mgkg1soil in the fertilized plots and 755  37mgkg1soil in the control plots. Our results suggest that fertilization in tropical forests may enhance long-term C sequestration in the soils of tropical wet forests.

carbon isotope characterization of vegetation and soil organic matter in subtropical forests in luquillo, puerto rico

Carbon Isotope Characterization of Vegetation and Soil Organic Matter in Subtropical Forests in Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Joseph C. von Fischer and Larry L. Tieszen
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 138-148

We examined natural abundances of 13C in vegetation and soil organic matter (SOM) of subtropical wet and rain forests to characterize the isotopic enrichment through decomposition that has been reported for temperate forests. Soil cores and vegetative samples from the decomposition continuum (leaves, new litter, old litter, wood, and roots) were taken from each of four forest types in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. SOM δ13C was enriched 1.6% relative to aboveground litter. We found no further enrichment within the soil profile. The carbon isotope ratios of vegetation varied among forests, ranging from -28.2% in the Colorado forest to -26.9% in the Palm forest. Isotope ratios of SOM differed between forests primarily in the top 20 cm where the Colorado forest was again most negative at -28.0%, and the Palm forest was most positive at -26.5%. The isotopic differences between forests are likely attributable to differences in light regimes due to canopy density variation, soil moisture regimes, and/or recycling of CO2. Our data suggest that recalcitrant SOM is not derived directly from plant lignin since plant lignin is even more 13C depleted than the bulk vegetation. We hypothesize that the anthropogenic isotopic depletion of atmospheric CO2 (ca 1.5% in the last 150 years) accounts for some of the enrichment observed in the SOM relative to the more modern vegetation in this study and others. This study also supports other observations that under wet or anaerobic soil environments there is no isotopic enrichment during decomposition or with depth in the active profile.


Moyer RP (2008) Carbon Isotopes (δ13C & Δ14C) and Trace Elements (Ba, Mn, Y) in Small Mountainous Rivers and Coastal Coral Skeletons in Puerto Rico. Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University, School of Earth Sciences, Columbus, OH. 260pp.

Tropical small mountainous rivers (SMRs) may transport up to 33% of the total carbon (C) delivered to the oceans. However, these fluxes are poorly quantified and historical records of land-ocean carbon delivery are rare. Corals have the potential to provide such records in the tropics because they are long-lived, draw on dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) for calcification, and isotopic variations within their skeletons are useful proxies of palaeoceanographic variability. The ability to quantify riverine C inputs to the coastal ocean and understand how they have changed through time is critical to understanding global carbon budgets in the context of modern climate change. A seasonal dual isotope (13C & 14C) characterization of the three major C pools in two SMRs and their adjacent coastal waters within Puerto Rico was conducted in order to understand the isotope signature of DIC being delivered to the coastal oceans. Additionally a 56-year record of paired coral skeletal C isotopes (δ13C & Δ14C) and trace elements (Ba/Ca, Mn/Ca, Y/Ca) is presented from a coral growing ~1 km from the mouth of an SMR. Four major findings were observed: 1) Riverine DIC was more depleted in δ13C and Δ14C than seawater DIC, 2) the correlation of δ13C and Δ14C was the same in both coral skeleton and the DIC of the river and coastal waters, 3) Coral δ13C and Ba/Ca were annually coherent with river discharge, and 4) increases in coral Ba/Ca were synchronous with the iii timing of depletions of both δ13C and Δ14C in the coral skeleton and increases in river discharge. This study represents a first-order comprehensive C isotope analysis of major C pools being transported to the coastal ocean via tropical SMRs. The strong coherence between river discharge and coral δ13C and Ba/Ca, and the concurrent timing of increases in Ba/Ca with decreases in δ13C and Δ14C suggest that river discharge is simultaneously recorded by multiple geochemical records. Based on these findings, the development of coral-based proxies for the history of land-ocean carbon flux would be invaluable to understanding the role of tropical land-ocean carbon fluxes in the context of global climate change.

Estimating soil labile organic carbon and potential turnover rates using a sequential fumigation–incubation procedure

Zoua, X.M.; Ruanc,H.H.; Fua, Y.; Yanga, X.D.; Sha, L.Q. 2005. Estimating soil labile organic carbon and potential turnover rates using a sequential fumigation–incubation procedure.. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 37 :1923-1928.

Labile carbon is the fraction of soil organic carbon with most rapid turnover times and its oxidation drives the flux of CO2 between soils and atmosphere. Available chemical and physical fractionation methods for estimating soil labile organic carbon are indirect and lack a clear biological definition. We have modified the well-established Jenkinson and Powlson’s fumigation–incubation technique to estimate soil labile organic carbon using a sequential fumigation–incubation procedure. We define soil labile organic carbon as the fraction of soil organic carbon degradable during microbial growth, assuming that labile organic carbon oxidizes according to a simple negative exponential model. We used five mineral soils and a forest Oa horizon to represent a wide range of organic carbon levels. Soil labile organic carbon varied from 0.8 mg/g in an Entisol to 17.3 mg/g in the Oa materials. Potential turnover time ranged from 24 days in an Alfisol to 102 days in an Ultisol. Soil labile organic carbon contributed from 4.8% in the Alfisol to 11.1% in the Ultisol to the total organic carbon. This new procedure is a relatively easy and simple method for obtaining indices for both the pool sizes and potential turnover rates of soil labile organic carbon and provides a new approach to studying soil organic carbon.

Effects of carbon additions on iron reduction and phosphorus availability in a humid tropical forest soil

Liptzin, D., and Silver,W.L. (2009) Effects of carbon additions
on iron reduction and phosphorus availability in a humid
tropical forest soil. Soil Biol Biochem 41: 1696–1702.

chemical cycling through its interactions with carbon (C) and phosphorus (P).We used a laboratory study to explore the role of C quantity and quality in Fe reduction and associated P mobilization in tropical forest soils. Soils were incubated under an ambient atmosphere headspace (room air) with multiple levels of leaf litter leachate or acetate additions. Net Fe reduction occurred in all the treatments and at every time point. The more complex mixture of organic compounds in leaf litter leachate stimulated Fe reduction as much acetate, an easily fermentable C source. At the end of the experiment, Fe reduction was generally greater with higher C additions than in the low C additions and controls. The microbial biomass P had increased significantly suggesting rapid microbial uptake of P liberated from Fe. This occurred without increases in the available (NaHCO3) P pool. The immobilization of P by microbes during the incubation provides a P conservation mechanism in these soils with fluctuating redox potential, and may ultimately stimulate more C cycling in these highly productive ecosystems. Iron cycling appears to be an important source of P for the biota and can contribute significantly to C oxidation in upland tropical forest soils.
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