Soil organic carbon storage and dynamics after C3-C4 and C4-C3 vegetation changes in sub-Andean landscapes of Colombia|
Carvajal, Andrés F.; Feijoo, Alexander; Quintero, Heimar & Rondón, Marco A.
The soil C capture capacity and organic matter turnover rate vary according to photosynthetic pathways; therefore the evaluation of C at sites suffering changes from C3 to C4 vegetation and vice versa, is important to identify impacts of land use change on C cycle. This study aims to evaluate C storage under different land uses, and soil C dynamics using the 13C technique to identify the origin of soil C. In the Municipality of Alcalá, Department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, the natural abundance of δ13C was estimated, and data on land use history were gathered to calculate the organic matter turnover rate. The contribution of each type of vegetation to total percentage organic C and to storage at 0.30 m was estimated at sites suffering changes from C3 to C4 vegetation and vice versa. Average δ13C ranged between -25.79 and -20.72‰ at the three depths evaluated. Over a period of 13 yr, mature fallow lands replaced more than 70% of the C fixed by pastures over a period of 60 yr, whereas paddocks, over a period of 17 yr, only managed to replace 37.9% of the C fixed by associated coffee plantations during a period of 50-100 years. We conclude that the use of 13C avoided that C storage would have been attributed to current land uses when they are actually fixed by previous vegetation; and that C deposit from C3 vegetation is recalcitrant, while that corresponding to C4 vegetation has a relatively fast turnover rate.
Carbon stable isotope; 13C; land use change; organic matter; turnover rate