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Labile carbon in soils of alpine grasslands

English title Labile carbon in soils of alpine grasslands
Applicant Leifeld Jens
Number 115891
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Forschungsanstalt Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Pedology
Start/End 01.08.2007 - 31.07.2010
Approved amount 176'364.00
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Keywords (6)

Labile carbon; 14C; turnover; temperature; stabilization; alps

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Soils in alpine regions are expected to store large amounts of soil carbon because of high carbon concentrations in the topsoil resulting form the temperature limitation of microbial degradation of plant residue inputs. Based on previous findings we suggest that labile carbon with a high sensitivity to temperature is of special importance for the carbon stock in alpine grassland soils, which makes these soils potential CO2 sources under future climate warming. However, site characteristics other than temperature, such as available soil volume or texture, can be limiting at high elevations for both primary productivity and the capacity of soils to store and protect C. The amount of labile C in alpine grassland soils, and the role of various mechanisms of stabilisation and destabilisation accounting for the high temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter decomposition are still poorly understood or even unknown. The aim of this project is to investigate systematically the amount and quality of labile SOM in alpine grasslands in relation to site-specific mean temperature, soil characteristics, and residue quality. This will be done by measuring the corresponding soil and residue quality attributes along four elevation gradients in the Alps differing in geology and texture. A combination of analytical techniques will be used, and calculation of labile SOM turnover times by means of 14C dating will be related to site characteristics and quality of input material to determine the role of the different potential drivers for the dynamics of labile C. We expect that the results of this study will be of great value for modelling the long-term dynamics of soil carbon at alpine sites to project the future behaviour alpine soil carbon stocks.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Turnover of grassland roots in mountain ecosystems revealed by their radiocarbon signature: Role of temperature and management
Leifeld Jens, Meyer Stefanie, Budge Karen, Sebastia Maria Teresa, Sebastia Maria Teresa, Zimmermann Michael, Fuhrer Juerg (2015), Turnover of grassland roots in mountain ecosystems revealed by their radiocarbon signature: Role of temperature and management, in PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0119184..
Alpine grassland soils contain large proportion of labile carbon but indicate long turnover times
Budge Karen et al. (2011), Alpine grassland soils contain large proportion of labile carbon but indicate long turnover times, in Biogeosciences, 8(7), 1911-1923.
Soil microbial communities in (sub)alpine grasslands indicate a moderate shift towards new environmental conditions 11 years after soil translocation
Budge Karen et al. (2011), Soil microbial communities in (sub)alpine grasslands indicate a moderate shift towards new environmental conditions 11 years after soil translocation, in Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 43(6), 1148-1154.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Botanik, Universität Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
EGU Poster Alpine pasture soils accumulate a large fraction of labile carbon due to combined effects of low temperature, low pH, and poor litter quality on decomposition 10.04.2010 Wien, Austria Fuhrer Jürg; Budge Karen; Leifeld Jens;
Aspsa Symposium Poster Are alpine soils global warming hotspots? What elevation gradients can reveal 05.03.2010 Zürich, Switzerland Leifeld Jens; Fuhrer Jürg; Budge Karen;
Soil Organic Matter matters. Poster Carbon distribution & turnover across an altitude gradient of a sheep pasture in the Swiss Alps 20.07.2009 Rothamsted, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Leifeld Jens; Fuhrer Jürg; Budge Karen;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
133817 Environmental Analysis and Dating with Radiocarbon using MICADAS 01.12.2010 R'EQUIP
142972 Land-use and management impacts on carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems 01.01.2013 Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme (BSRP)

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