Effects of {Climate} {Change} and {Vegetation} {Type} on {Carbon} and {Nitrogen} {Accumulation} during {Incipient} {Soil} {Formation}

Plants play an important role in carbon and nitrogen fluxes in the environment. Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and deposit a fraction of this carbon into the soil as a result of root exudation and senescence, contributing to soil formation. Additionally, plants can facilitate sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere in inorganic form during the process of mineral weathering. With increasing temperatures and levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, it is unknown what effect these changes will have on plant growth and weathering of silicate rocks, and by extension on carbon accumulation in the soils. To identify climate change effects on C and N fluxes, a controlled study was conducted at Ecotron Ile-de-France utilizing mesocosms maintained at elevated and ambient CO2 concentration and temperature with four different vegetation treatments: control, alfalfa, velvet mesquite, and green sprangletop. Each experiment lasted for 4 months with monthly rainfall events using deionized water. After each rain, soil solution and drainage were collected and analyzed for major and trace elements, as well as anions, nitrogen, and organic and inorganic carbon. CO2 concentrations in the soil air were monitored as well. At the end of this study, soil samples were collected from each mesocosm at four different depths and then analyzed for organic carbon, inorganic carbon, and total nitrogen. Accumulation of organic and inorganic carbon and nitrogen with clear differences with depth was observed in all mesocosms. Elevated CO2 in the atmosphere influenced C accumulation in the soils, while the type of vegetation significantly affected concentrations of nitrogen and organic carbon in soil and solution. This indicates that climate change would affect carbon and nitrogen fluxes in the soils causing feedbacks to the atmospheric CO2.


Effects of {Climate} {Change} and {Vegetation} {Type} on {Carbon} and {Nitrogen} {Accumulation} during {Incipient} {Soil} {Formation}
Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
Date Published
Submitted on 21 October 2021