Organic carbon storage in soils of the Basque Country (Spain): the effect of climate, vegetation type and edaphic variables

  • Ganuza A
  • Almendros G
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This study was performed to identify the environmental factors that control soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation in the Basque Country (Northern Spain) and to evaluate the impact of land use change on SOC budget in this territory. A total of 30 samples of the organomineral horizon were taken under representative vegetation types including native forest, coniferous plantations, scrub, pasture and cultures. The edaphic variables measured were organic C content, pH, total N, available P, exchangeable H+ and Al3+, cation exchange capacity (CEC), texture, and carbonates. The substitution of the original forest with a pasture led to a significant increase in organic C content of the topsoil in all cases studied. Temperature was the main climatic factor affecting the organic C levels in soil, being the two variables negatively correlated. The CEC and texture were other key factors controlling the organic C content, which increased with CEC and decreased with total sand. Average organic C content of the organomineral horizon did not differ significantly (P

Author-supplied keywords

  • cation
  • exchange capacity
  • land use change
  • regression models
  • soil organic matter

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  • A Ganuza

  • G Almendros

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