" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

A Comparison of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks Between Residential Turf Grass and Native Soil
Pouyat, Richard
Co-Authors: Richard V. Pouyat, Ian D. Yesilonis1, and Nancy E. Golubiewski
Abstract: To assess the effect of urban land-use change on soil organic carbon (SOC), we compared SOC stocks of turf grass and native cover types of two metropolitan areas representing climatologically distinct regions in the United States. We hypothesized that the effect of introducing turf grass will lead to higher SOC densities in the arid Denver area, whereas in the Baltimore area there should be a reduction in SOC densities relative to native cover types. Moreover, differences between residential turf grasses will be less between Baltimore and Denver than differences in the native soils of each metropolitan region. Within Baltimore, turf grass had almost a 2-fold higher SOC density at 0-1-m and 0-20-cm depths than in rural forest soils, whereas there were no differences with soils of urban forest remnants. Moreover, urban forest remnant soils had more than 70% higher SOC densities than rural forest soils. Within Denver, turf grass (> 25 years of age) had more than 2-fold higher SOC densities than in shortgrass steppe soils, while having similar SOC densities to Baltimore turf grass soils at a 0-1-m depth. The amount of SOC in 0-20-cm depth also was similar, though the percentage of SOC (relative to 1 m) for this depth was higher in Baltimore than in Denver. By contrast, using SOC densities of remnant forest soils as representative of native soils in the Baltimore region the native soils of Baltimore were almost 2-fold higher than the native steppe grass soils of Denver. These results supported the hypothesis that differences in SOC densities between different climatic regions would be greater between native cover types than between residential turf grass soils.