Publication Date: 
August 2017
D’Elia, Amanda H. AU - Liles, Garrett C. AU - Viers, Joshua H. AU - Smart, David R. PY - 2017 DA - 2017/08/15 TI - Deep carbon storage potential of buried floodplain soils JO - Scientific Reports SP - 8181 VL - 7 IS - 1 AB

Soils account for the largest terrestrial pool of carbon and have the potential for even greater quantities of carbon sequestration. Typical soil carbon (C) stocks used in global carbon models only account for the upper 1 meter of soil. Previously unaccounted for deep carbon pools (>1 m) were generally considered to provide a negligible input to total C contents and represent less dynamic C pools. Here we assess deep soil C pools associated with an alluvial floodplain ecosystem transitioning from agricultural production to restoration of native vegetation. We analyzed the soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations of 87 surface soil samples (0–15 cm) and 23 subsurface boreholes (0–3 m). We evaluated the quantitative importance of the burial process in the sequestration of subsurface C and found our subsurface soils (0–3 m) contained considerably more C than typical C stocks of 0–1 m. This deep unaccounted soil C could have considerable implications for global C accounting. We compared differences in surface soil C related to vegetation and land use history and determined that flooding restoration could promote greater C accumulation in surface soils. We conclude deep floodplain soils may store substantial quantities of C and floodplain restoration should promote active C sequestration.