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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 56 No. 6, p. 1945-1950
    Received: Oct 9, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Soil Carbon, Nitrogen, and Fine Root Biomass Sampling in a Pine Stand

  1. Gregory A. Ruark  and
  2. Stanley J. Zarnoch
  1. U.S. Forest Service, 3041 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
    U.S. Forest Service, Green Street, Athens, GA 30602



Spatial variability of soil properties can be great in forested settings. A study was conducted to determine the most efficient methodology for sampling surface mineral soils in a mature loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) forest for total C, total N, and fine root biomass to obtain stand level estimates. Specifically, we evaluated the variation within and among plots, the performance of small- and large-diameter corers, the effect of stem proximity, the influence of fine roots on soil C and N estimates, and the effect of compositing samples. We concluded that (i) C and N levels always increased with proximity to stems; (ii) proximity to a stem did not affect mean fine root biomass estimates; (iii) variability of the estimates of C and N consistently decreased with increased distance from the stem, but no trend occurred for fine root biomass; (iv) for total stand estimates of N and fine root biomass, stratification with respect to tree stems does not yield a gain in precision, for C precision increased only slightly; (v) C associated with fine roots represented ≈5% of the total C in a core sample, while N in roots was < 2% of its total; (vi) for C and N estimates, the variation with a 1.8-cm-diam. core was similar to that obtained with a 6.1-cm core; and (vii) chemical analyses could be reduced and precision maintained by compositing the soil core samples.

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