Is there more soil carbon under nitrogen-fixing trees than under non-nitrogen-fixing trees in mixed-species restoration plantings?

M. Hoogmoed, S.C. Cunningham, P.J. Baker, Jason Beringer, T.R. Cavagnaro

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    Afforestation of agricultural land provides an important opportunity to mitigate climate change by storing carbon (C) in both plant biomass and the soil. Here we present results of a study in which we sought to determine whether soil under nitrogen(N)-fixing trees contained more C than soil under non-N-fixing trees in mixed-species plantings, and thus if inclusion of N-fixers is beneficial in terms of increasing soil C sequestration. Soils were sampled directly beneath N-fixing and non-N-fixing tree species in riparian and upland mixed-species plantings in southeastern Australia. Soil C and N contents were assessed at both the landscape and individual planting scales. At the landscape scale, there were higher levels of soil C and N under N-fixing trees compared with non-N-fixing trees. At the individual planting scale, the patterns were less clear with both large increases and decreases occurring across the range of sites. The results presented here indicate that the inclusion of N-fixers may help to increase soil C, and N, but that the response may be site- and species-specific. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-84
    JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
    Early online date12 Mar 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014


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