Increasing understanding of soil carbon (C) sequestration dynamics and general functioning in disappearing native grassland ecosystems, has the potential to enhance soil rehabilitation and ecosystem restoration. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of landuse (native tallgrass prairie and managed agriculture) and physiographic region (northwest Arkansas and east-central Arkansas) on the change in soil C and nitrogen (N) storage and other soil properties over a 15-year period. Despite the native prairie losing soil C at a rate of 4.7 Mg ha−1 year−1 over the 15-year duration of this study, soil C storage in 2016 was more than 2.5 times greater in the native prairie than in the cultivated agroecosystems in the Grand Prairie. Averaged across landuse, TC concentration (P < 0.01) and content (P < 0.01) changed more over time in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas (0.02% year−1 and 0.28 Mg ha−1 year−1, respectively), than in the Grand Prairie region of east-central Arkansas. This study demonstrates the value of direct measurements over time for assessing temporal changes in soil properties and results can potentially direct future restoration activities to be as successful as possible.
Part of the book: CO2 Sequestration