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1 January 2003 Carbon and Nitrogen Sequestration in Two Prairie Topochronosequences on Contrasting Soils in Southern Wisconsin
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Prairie restoration has the potential to sequester nitrogen (N) and atmospheric carbon (C) in the soil, but the capability of a site to respond positively to prairie restoration depends on numerous factors such as soil parent material, topography and time. Soil bulk density in the top 10 cm and C and N concentrations at several intervals to a depth of 1 m were measured in a tallgrass prairie topochronosequence at fine- and coarse-textured soil locations to evaluate the role of texture, slope and ecosystem age in controlling C and N sequestration following cessation of cultivation and subsequent prairie restoration. Soil C and N concentrations, contents and C:N ratios were significantly greater in fine-textured soils compared to sites with coarse-textured soil. Soil texture generally did not explain variations in the amounts or rates of C and N sequestration in the restored prairies. Soil surface bulk density was significantly correlated with slope, but not ecosystem age, at sites with coarse-textured soil. Within the limits of this study, neither slope nor ecosystem age were correlated to bulk density at sites with fine-textured soil. Soil C content in the top 25 cm increased significantly as ecosystem age increased for the restored and remnant prairies at the fine-textured location, but not at the coarse-textured location. Results demonstrate that a combination of soil parent material, topography and time since cessation of cultivation control the content and accumulation of C and N following prairie restoration. In the context of this study, the bottom line is that significant C sequestration was not achieved, given the current level and types of restoration management, within two and a half decades following conversion of cultivated cropland to prairie.

K. R. BRYE and C. J. KUCHARIK "Carbon and Nitrogen Sequestration in Two Prairie Topochronosequences on Contrasting Soils in Southern Wisconsin," The American Midland Naturalist 149(1), 90-103, (1 January 2003).[0090:CANSIT]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 1 August 2002; Published: 1 January 2003

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