Contribution and stability of forest-derived soil organic carbon during woody encroachment in a tropical savanna. A case study in Gabon

In this study, we quantified the contribution of forest-derived carbon (FDC) to the soil organic C (SOC) pool along a natural succession from savanna (S) to mixed Marantaceae forest (MMF) in the Lopè National Park, Gabon. Four 1-ha plots, corresponding to different stages along the natural succession, were used to determine the SOC stock and soil C isotope composition (δ13C) to derive the FDC contribution in different soil layers down to 1 m depth. Besides, to investigate changes in SOC stability, we determined the 14C concentration of SOC to 30 cm depth and derived turnover time (TT). Results indicated that SOC increased only at the end of the succession in the MMF stage, which stored 46% more SOC (41 Mg C ha−1) in the 0–30 cm depth than the S stage (28.8 Mg C ha−1). The FDC contribution increased along forest succession affecting mainly the top layers of the initial successional stages to 15 cm depth and reaching 70 cm depth in the MMF stage. The TT suggests a small increase in stability in the 0–5 cm layer from S (146 years) to MMF (157 years) stages. Below 5 cm, the increase in stability was high, suggesting that FDC can remain in soils for a much longer time than savanna-derived C. In conclusion, the natural succession toward Marantaceae forests can positively impact climate change resulting in large SOC stocks, which can be removed from the atmosphere and stored for a much longer time in forest soils compared to savanna soils. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Chiti T.1, 2 , Rey A.3 , Jeffery K.4, 5, 6 , Lauteri M.7 , Mihindou V.4, 8 , Malhi Y.9 , Marzaioli F.10 , White L.J.T.4, 5, 6 , Valentini R. 1, 2, 11
Springer Verlag
  • 1 Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest Systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, via San C. De Lellis snc, Viterbo, 01100, Italy
  • 2 Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), Viterbo, Italy
  • 3 Department of Biogeography and Global Change, National Museum of Natural Science (MNCN) Spanish Scientific Council (CSIC), Serrano 115bis, Madrid, 28006, Spain
  • 4 Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, Libreville, BP 20379, Gabon
  • 5 School of Natural Sciences, University of StirlingFK9 4LA, United Kingdom
  • 6 Institut de Recherche en Écologie Tropicale, CENAREST, Libreville, Gabon
  • 7 Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale (IBAF), National Council of Research (CNR), Via G. Marconi 2, Porano, Terni, 05010, Italy
  • 8 Ministere de la Forêt, de l’environnement et de la Protection des Ressources Naturelles, Libreville, Gabon
  • 9 Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 10 Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Seconda Università di Napoli, Viale Lincoln 5, Caserta, 81100, Italy
  • 11 RUDN University, Moscow, Russian Federation
Ключевые слова
Radiocarbon; Stable carbon isotopes; Tropical soils; Woody encroachment
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