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Influence of herbaceous biomass crops on soil organic carbon in southern Ontario soils

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Title: Influence of herbaceous biomass crops on soil organic carbon in southern Ontario soils
Author: Graham, Jordan
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Thevathasan, NareshVoroney, Paul
Abstract: Nineteen farms growing herbaceous biomass crops, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus spp.), were sampled for soil organic carbon (SOC) across Ontario, Canada in 2016, along with nearby agricultural fields and woodlots to compare SOC between land-uses. Woodlots contained significantly higher (p<0.05) SOC concentrations (4.26 ± 0.29%) than any other land-use. Switchgrass and Miscanthus had numerically higher SOC concentrations (2.50 ± 0.29% and 2.50 ± 0.36%, respectively) than agricultural fields (2.21 ± 0.31%) depicting SOC sequestration potential. Numerical trends in SOC stocks showed that woodlots (103.55 ± 7.40 Mg C ha-1) contained more SOC than switchgrass (85.30 ± 7.14 Mg C ha-1), Miscanthus (83.36 ± 8.97 Mg C ha-1), and agriculture (80.51 ± 7.74 Mg C ha-1). SOC stocks in woodlots were significantly higher (p<0.05) than Miscanthus and agriculture, but not switchgrass. δ13C analysis and baseline comparisons showed that herbaceous biomass crops are adding organic matter to the SOC pool.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/12956
Date: 2018-04
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