Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 9, issue 11
Biogeosciences, 9, 4477–4485, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 9, 4477–4485, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 Nov 2012

Research article | 14 Nov 2012

A cost-efficient method to assess carbon stocks in tropical peat soil

M. W. Warren1, J. B. Kauffman3,2, D. Murdiyarso4,3, G. Anshari5, K. Hergoualc'h3, S. Kurnianto6,3, J. Purbopuspito3, E. Gusmayanti5, M. Afifudin5, J. Rahajoe7, L. Alhamd7, S. Limin8, and A. Iswandi9 M. W. Warren et al.
  • 1USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 271 Mast Rd., Durham NH 03824, USA
  • 2Oregon State University, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, Nash Hall Rm 104, Corvallis OR, USA
  • 3Center for International Forestry Research, Jalan CIFOR, Situ Gede, Bogor Barat 16115, Indonesia
  • 4Bogor Agricultural University, Dept. of Geophysics and Meteorology, Jalan Meranti, Kampus IPB Darmaga Bogor 16680, Indonesia
  • 5Universitas Tanjungpura, Center for Wetlands People and Biodiversity, Jalan Ahmad Yani, Pontianak 78124, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
  • 6University of New Hampshire, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, Morse Hall 8, College Road, Durham NH 03824, USA
  • 7Indonesian Institute of Sciences Research Center for Biology, Cibinong Science Center, Jalan, Raya Jakarta, Bogor Km 46, Cibinong, West Java, Indonesia
  • 8CIMTROP, University of Palangka Raya, Kampus Tunjung Nyaho, Central Kalimantan 73111, Indonesia
  • 9Bogor Agricultural University, Dept. of Soil Science and Land Management, Laboratory of Soil Biotechnology, Jalan Meranti, Kampus IPB Darmaga Bogor 16680, Indonesia

Abstract. Estimation of belowground carbon stocks in tropical wetland forests requires funding for laboratory analyses and suitable facilities, which are often lacking in developing nations where most tropical wetlands are found. It is therefore beneficial to develop simple analytical tools to assist belowground carbon estimation where financial and technical limitations are common. Here we use published and original data to describe soil carbon density (kgC m−3; Cd) as a function of bulk density (gC cm−3; Bd), which can be used to rapidly estimate belowground carbon storage using Bd measurements only. Predicted carbon densities and stocks are compared with those obtained from direct carbon analysis for ten peat swamp forest stands in three national parks of Indonesia. Analysis of soil carbon density and bulk density from the literature indicated a strong linear relationship (Cd = Bd × 495.14 + 5.41, R2 = 0.93, n = 151) for soils with organic C content > 40%. As organic C content decreases, the relationship between Cd and Bd becomes less predictable as soil texture becomes an important determinant of Cd. The equation predicted belowground C stocks to within 0.92% to 9.57% of observed values. Average bulk density of collected peat samples was 0.127 g cm−3, which is in the upper range of previous reports for Southeast Asian peatlands. When original data were included, the revised equation Cd = Bd × 468.76 + 5.82, with R2 = 0.95 and n = 712, was slightly below the lower 95% confidence interval of the original equation, and tended to decrease Cd estimates. We recommend this last equation for a rapid estimation of soil C stocks for well-developed peat soils where C content > 40%.

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