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Reforesting degraded agricultural landscapes with Eucalypts: Effects on carbon storage and soil fertility after 26 years


Harper, RJ and Okom, AEA and Stilwell, AT and Tibbett, M and Dean, C and George, SJ and Sochacki, SJ and Mitchell, CD and Mann, SS and Dods, K, Reforesting degraded agricultural landscapes with Eucalypts: Effects on carbon storage and soil fertility after 26 years, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 163 pp. 3-13. ISSN 0167-8809 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.agee.2012.03.013


In the Western Australian wheatbelt, the restoration of native eucalypt forests for managing degraded agricultural landscapes is a critical part of managing dryland salinity and rebuilding biodiversity. Such reforestation will also sequester carbon. Whereas most investigative emphasis has been on carbon stored in biomass, the effects of reforestation on soil organic carbon (SOC) stores and fertility are not known. Two 26 year old reforestation experiments with four Eucalyptus species (E. cladocalyx var nana, E. occidentalis, E. sargentii and E. wandoo) were compared with agricultural sites (Field). SOC stores (to 0.3 m depth) ranged between 33 and 55 Mg ha−1, with no statistically significant differences between tree species and adjacent farmland. Farming comprised crop and pasture rotations. In contrast, the reforested plots contained additional carbon in the tree biomass (2360 Mg ha−1 and litter (1934 Mg ha−1, with the greatest litter accumulation associated with E. sargentii. Litter represented between 29 and 56% of the biomass carbon and the protection or utilization of this litter in fire-prone, semi-arid farmland will be an important component of carbon management. Exch-Na and Exch-Mg accumulated under E. sargentii and E. occidentalis at one site. The results raise questions about the conclusions of SOC sequestration studies following reforestation based on limited sampling and reiterate the importance of considering litter in reforestation carbon accounts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:carbon sequestration, biodiversity restoration, watershed management
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Dean, C (Dr Christopher Dean)
ID Code:81133
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:36
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2012-11-23
Last Modified:2013-07-05

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