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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 2, p. 690-696
    Received: Oct 21, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): tim.moore@mcgill.ca
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Carbon Accumulation and Storage in Mineral Subsoil beneath Peat

  1. Tim R. Moore * and
  2. Jukka Turunen
  1. Dep. of Geography and the Centre for Climate & Global Change Research, McGill Univ., 805 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, QC, Canada H3A 2K6


We showed that sandy subsoils beneath peat near Ramsey Lake, MI, contained 7.5 to 8.0 kg organic C (OC) m−2 to a depth of 70 cm, compared with 1.6 to 3.6 kg m−2 in adjacent forest soils, from which the peatland had evolved through paludification. Compared with the soils beneath the forest, those beneath the peat contained similar amounts of oxalate-extractable Al (Alo) and less Fe, owing to loss of Fe under reduced leached conditions beneath the peat. Most of the extractable Al in the mineral horizons beneath peat was organically bound. Atomic pyrophosphate-extractable (Fep + Alp) Fe + Al/C ratios were smaller (<0.2:1) in the mineral horizons beneath peat than in the forest mineral subsoils (generally >0.2:1), indicating larger inputs and retention in the mineral subsoils beneath peat. Concentration of OC in subsoil samples was strongly (r 2 = 0.58, p < 0.001) related to the subsoil Al, null-point dissolved organic C (DOC) and clay concentrations. A DOC sorption study using peat pore water ranging from 0 to 117 mg DOC L−1 revealed null-point DOC (DOCnp) concentrations (at which there is neither gain nor loss of OC by the soil) varied from <1 to 417 mg DOC L−1 and was primarily related to Feo (negatively), Alo (negatively), and C (positively). We suggest that the increase in mineral subsoil OC beneath peat is related to the sorption of DOC carried by pore water percolating through the mineral subsoil, combined with slow rates of mineralization of sorbed DOC under anoxic conditions.

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