Rebecca Ryals, Michael Kaiser, Margaret S. Torn, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe og Whendee L. Silver
There was a significant increase in bulk soil organic C content at the valley grassland, and a similar but non-significant trend at the coastal grassland. Physical fractionation of soil three years after organic matter amendment revealed increases in C and N in the free- and occluded light fractions in both the valley and coastal grasslands. Amendments resulted in a greater relative increase in the N stored in light soil fractions compared to C, leading to lower C:N ratios. Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy showed an increase in the ratio of carboxyl and carbonyl functional groups to aliphatic methyl and methylene groups in the free- and occluded light fractions. These data show that the organic matter amendment was incorporated in the free light and occluded light fractions over three years. Our results indicate that a single application of compost to grassland soils can increase soil C and N storage in labile and physically protected pools over relatively short time periods and contribute to climate change mitigation.
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