Comparison of botanical composition, soil carbon content, and root distribution of subirrigated meadows in the Nebraska Sandhills

Eric M. Mousel, Walter H. Schacht, C. William Zanner, David A. Wedin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Characterizing vegetation composition, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) content of soils, and root-mass distribution is critical to understanding carbon sequestration potential of subirrigated meadows in the Nebraska Sandhills. Five subirrigated meadows dominated by cool-season (C3) graminoids and five meadows dominated by warm-season (C4) grasses were selected throughout the Nebraska Sandhills. Vegetation, soil carbon and nitrogen, and root-mass density distribution were sampled in each meadow. Meadows dominated by C3 vegetation had 12% greater (P < 0.1) yields than meadows dominated by C4 vegetation. Total root-mass density was 30% greater (P < 0.1) in C4-dominated meadows than C3-dominated meadows. Total carbon and nitrogen content was 65% and 53% greater (P < 0.1), respectively, in the A horizon of C3-dominated meadows, but was 43% and 52% greater (P < 0.1), respectively, in the C horizon of C4-dominated meadows. Although meadows dominated by C3 vegetation had more carbon in the soil profile, much of the carbon in C3-dominated meadows appeared to be recalcitrant C4 carbon from historic vegetation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalGreat Plains Research
Volume17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

Keywords

  • Groundwater
  • Native vegetation
  • Root mass
  • Sandhills
  • Soil carbon
  • Subirrigated meadow

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