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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 62 No. 3, p. 789-796
     
    Received: Jan 3, 1997


    * Corresponding author(s): homann@cc.wwu.edu
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doi:10.2136/sssaj1998.03615995006200030036x

Regional Soil Organic Carbon Storage Estimates for Western Oregon by Multiple Approaches

  1. P. S. Homann ,
  2. P. Sollins,
  3. M. Fiorella,
  4. T. Thorson and
  5. J. S. Kern
  1. Huxley College, Center for Environmental Sciences, Western Washington Univ., Bellingham, WA 98225-9181
    Dep. of Forest Science, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR 97331-7501
    USDA NRCS, 101 S.W. Main St., Suite 1300, Portland, OR 97204-3221
    Dynamac Corporation, USEPA National Health and Environmental Effects Lab., Western Ecology Division, Corvallis, OR 97333

Abstract

Abstract

Soil is an important factor in regional and global C budgets because it serves as a reservoir of large amounts of organic C. In our study, we compared six approaches of estimating soil organic C (kg C m−2, not including the surface organic horizon, hereafter called soil C) and its spatial pattern in the mountainous, largely forested western Oregon region. The approaches were (i) USDA NRCS pedons, (ii) other pedons, (iii) the State Soil Geographic Data Base (STATSGO), (iv) the United Nations Soil Map of the World, (v) the National Soil Geographic Data Base (NATSGO), and (vi) an ecosystem-complex map. Agreement between approaches varied with scale. For the entire region (105 km2), estimates of average soil C varied from 4.3 to 6.8 kg C m−2 for the 0- to 20-cm depth and from 12.1 to 16.9 kg C m−2 for the 0- to 100-cm depth. At the subregional scale (≈104 km2), all approaches indicated higher soil C in the coastal area than in the inland southern area, but relative amounts in other subregions varied among the approaches. At the subsubregional scale (≈103 km2), soil C was consistent between individual STATSGO map units and NRCS pedons within those map units, but there was less agreement with other pedons. Rigorous testing of soil-C maps requires data from pedons that are located by objective criteria, in contrast to the subjectively located pedons now available. The uncertainty associated with regional soil-C amounts and spatial patterns should be considered when soil-C maps are integrated into regional or global assessments of physical and biotic processes because simulation-model outputs may be sensitive to soil C.

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