Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2008 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Residential Carbon: C and N nitrogen dynamics in a chronosequence of suburban lawns
Jenkins, Jennifer
Co-Authors: Jennifer C. Jenkins, Peter M. Groffman, John Butnor, Amanda K. Holland, Mary Cadenasso, J. Morgan Grove, Mary Washington, Steward T.A. Pickett, and Richard V. Pouyat
Abstract: Conversion of land to residential use is an important contributor to regional ecosystem dynamics, but little is known about how residential lands cycle C and N. In this study, we present preliminary results from a study of turfgrass productivity, soil respiration, and soil C and N stocks along a chronosequence of suburban lawns in South Burlington, VT ranging in age from 1 to 20 years. Ten of the 12 lawns in the pilot study were located in the same suburban development (the two oldest lawns were in an adjacent development) and established using identical home building and lawn seeding procedures. Methods were identical to those employed in a larger NSF-funded study of C and N dynamics in suburban and urban lawns at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (see presentation by Holland et al.). Preliminary results suggest that aboveground turfgrass productivity is not correlated with lawn age, but does vary with soil texture and historical and current lawn management practices (see presentation by Lilly et al.). Soil respiration and total belowground carbon accumulation (TBCA) in Burlington also vary with lawn age and soil texture. Soil N stocks in the upper soil layers seem to increase almost linearly with lawn age, though soil C stocks appear roughly constant with time in both the 0-10 cm and 10- 20 cm soil layers. Future work will compare the Baltimore and Burlington results to understand variation in turfgrass productivity along a climate gradient, and will seek to understand thatch and stubble dynamics in these systems.