Improved sampling methods document decline in soil organic carbon stocks and concentrations of permanganate oxidizable carbon after transition from swidden to oil palm cultivation

Bech Bruun, Thilde and Kelvin, Egay and Mertz, Ole and Magid, Jakob (2013) Improved sampling methods document decline in soil organic carbon stocks and concentrations of permanganate oxidizable carbon after transition from swidden to oil palm cultivation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 178. pp. 127-134. ISSN 0167-8809

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Abstract

Oil palm plantations are spreading rapidly throughout Southeast Asia and in some countries, they are promoted as carbon sinks compared to the swidden cultivation systems that they often replace. However, little is known about the impacts of this land use change on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks or soil quality. This study uses resampling of archived soil samples to investigate the sensitivity of permanganate oxidizable carbon (Pox-C) concentration to a change in land use from swidden cultivation to small-scale oil palm plantation on an Ultisol in Sarawak, Malaysia. Furthermore, the results of two different methods of calculating SOC stocks are compared - namely the fixed depth approach and the equivalent soil mass approach, which is sensitive to changes in soil bulk density. Results show that using a method that is sensitive to changes in bulk density is important as the soil bulk density increases upon establishment of oil palm. Thus, topsoil carbon stocks significantly decreased 3-8 years after oil palm establishment as measured by the equivalent soil mass approach, but only marginally and insignificantly decreased according to the fixed depth approach. After 15 years of oil palm, carbon stocks were 40% lower according to the fixed depth approach but 50% lower when using the equivalent soil mass approach. Importantly, the resampling of geo-referenced soil gives more consistent data, and lends credibility to the observation of large reductions in SOC stocks. The concentration of Pox-C in the 0-10. cm layer declines exponentially as oil palm plantations age and can serve as an indicator of change in the soil ecosystem brought about by the investigated land use transition. Pox-C is not more sensitive to this change than standard SOC analyses, but it may serve as an inexpensive, fast and field-suitable means of estimating the SOC status of different land use systems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early indicator; Equivalent soil mass approach; Land use changes; Permanganate oxidizable carbon; Sarawak; Soil organic carbon, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Saman
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2017 02:20
Last Modified: 03 May 2017 02:02
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/15933

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