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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Pedology

Distribution of Soil Organic and Inorganic Carbon Pools by Biome and Soil Taxa in Arizona


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 1, p. 256-265
    Received: Apr 8, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): crasmuss@ag.arizona.edu
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  1. Craig Rasmussen *
  1. Dep. of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sci., Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0038


Arid systems represent an important component of the global soil C budget in that they cover 12% of the global land area and contain nearly 20% of global soil C stocks, both organic (SOC) and inorganic (SIC). The objectives of this study were to quantify SOC and SIC stocks in Arizona biomes, using Arizona as a model system for arid lands. Biome distribution was extracted from the Arizona Gap Analysis Project spatial vegetation dataset (GAP), while soil C data were extracted from the Arizona State Soil Geographic Dataset (STATSGO) at a scale of 1:250 000, and the western Yavapai County Soil Survey Geographic Dataset (SSURGO) at a scale of 1:24 000. Soil data were converted from a polygonal vector format to a raster format, and a raster-based method used to estimate SOC and SIC stocks by biome. Statewide, STATSGO soil C stocks indicate Arizona contains 0.5 and 1.5 Pg of SOC and SIC, respectively, with 27% of the SOC in pinyon-juniper biomes (PJ), and 34% of SIC in creosotebush-bursage biomes (CB). A comparison of soil C estimates between datasets indicates significantly greater estimates of biome SOC and SIC using SSURGO data relative to the STATSGO data. SSURGO soil C estimates varied considerably between the raster-based and soil taxa based method of data aggregation. Soil taxa data exhibited large intra-unit variation in each biome. In addition, soil C differed substantially between biomes by soil taxa (e.g., Haplargid SOC of 4.0 and 13.5 kg m−2 in the paloverde-cacti (PC) and montane pine (MP) forest biomes, respectively). Raster based soil C estimations incorporate the spatial distribution and areal land cover of each soil type within a biome, providing a more accurate representation of soil C stocks.

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