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Land-cover effects on soil organic carbon stocks in a European city

Edmondson, Jill L., Davies, Zoe G., McCormack, Sarah A., Gaston, Kevin J., Leake, Jonathan R. (2014) Land-cover effects on soil organic carbon stocks in a European city. Science of the Total Environment, 472 . pp. 444-453. ISSN 0048-9697. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.025) (KAR id:37268)


Soil is the vital foundation of terrestrial ecosystems storing water, nutrients, and almost three-quarters of the organic carbon stocks of the Earth's biomes. Soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks vary with land-cover and land-use change, with significant losses occurring through disturbance and cultivation. Although urbanisation is a growing contributor to land-use change globally, the effects of urban land-cover types on SOC stocks have not been studied for densely built cities. Additionally, there is a need to resolve the direction and extent to which greenspace management such as tree planting impacts on SOC concentrations. Here, we analyse the effect of land-cover (herbaceous, shrub or tree cover), on SOC stocks in domestic gardens and non-domestic greenspaces across a typical mid-sized U.K. city (Leicester, 73 km2, 56% greenspace), and map citywide distribution of this ecosystem service. SOCwasmeasured in topsoil and compared to surrounding extra-urban agricultural land. Average SOC storage in the city's greenspace was 9.9 kg m?2, to 21 cmdepth. SOC concentrations under trees and shrubs in domestic gardenswere greater than all other land-covers, with totalmedian storage of 13.5 kg m?2 to 21 cm depth, more than 3 kg m?2 greater than any other land-cover class in domestic and non-domestic greenspace and 5 kg m?2 greater than in arable land. Land-cover did not significantly affect SOC concentrations in non-domestic greenspace, but values beneath trees were higher than under both pasture and arable land, whereas concentrations under shrub and herbaceous land-covers were only higher than arable fields. We conclude

that although differences in greenspace management affect SOC stocks, trees only marginally increase these stocks in non-domestic greenspaces, but may enhance them in domestic gardens, and greenspace topsoils hold substantial SOC stores that require protection from further expansion of artificial surfaces e.g. patios and driveways.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.025
Uncontrolled keywords: Urban soils; Urban greenspace; Gardens; Non-domestic greenspace; Ecosystem services
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 09:47 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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