Production of carbon occluded in phytolith is season-dependent in a bamboo forest in subtropical China

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© 2014 Huang et al. Carbon (C) occluded in phytolith (PhytOC) is a stable form of C; when PhytOC is returned to the soil through litterfall it is stored in the soil which can be an effective way for long-term C sequestration. However, few estimates on the rate of PhytOC input to the soil are available. To better understand the seasonal dynamics of PhytOC production and the annual rate of stable C sequestration through PhytOC input, we quantified the monthly litterfall, phytolith and PhytOC return to the soil over a year in a typical Lei bamboo (Phyllostachys praecox) forest in subtropical China. The monthly litterfall ranged between 14.81 and 131.18 g m -2 , and the phytolith concentration in the monthly litterfall samples ranged between 47.21 and 101.68 g kg -1 of litter mass, with the PhytOC concentration in the phytolith ranged between 29.4 and 44.9 g kg -1 of phytolith, equivalent to 1.8-3.6 g kg -1 of PhytOC in the litterfall (based on litterfall dry mass). The amount of phytolith input to the soil system was 292.21±69.12 (mean±SD) kg ha -1 yr -1 , sequestering 41.45±9.32 kg CO 2 -e ha -1 yr -1 of C in the studied Lei bamboo forest. This rate of C sequestration through the formation of PhytOC found in this study falls within the range of rates for other grass-type species reported in the literature. We conclude that return of C occluded in phytolith to the soil can be a substantial source of stable soil C and finding means to increase PhytOC storage in the soil should be able to play a significant role in mitigating the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO 2 concentration.




Huang, Z. T., Jiang, P. K., Chang, S. X., Zhang, Y., & Ying, Y. Q. (2014). Production of carbon occluded in phytolith is season-dependent in a bamboo forest in subtropical China. PLoS ONE, 9(9).

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