Aspen Bibliography


Calculation of organic matter and nutrients stored in soils under contrasting management regimes

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Canadian Journal of Soil Science





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Ellert, B. H. and Bettany, J. R. 1995. Calculation of organic matter and nutrients stored in soils under contrasting manage- ment regimes. Can. J. Soit Sci. 75: 529-538 Assessments of managemenrinduced changes in soil organic matter depend on the methods used to calculate the quantities of organic C and N stored in soils. Chemical analyses in the laboratory indicate the con- centrations of elements in soils, but the thickniss and bulk density of the soil layers in the fieid must be considered to estimate the quantities of elements per unit area. Conventional methods that calculate organic matter storage as the product of concentration, bulk density and thickness do not fully account for variations in soil mass. Comparisons between the quantities of organic C, N, P and S in bray Luviscl soils under nitive aspen forest and various cropping systems were hampered by differences in the mass of soil under consideraiion. The influence of these differences was eliminated by calculating the masses of C, N, P and S in an "equivalent soil mass" (i.e. the mass of soil in a standard or reference surface layer). Reassessment of previously published data also indicated that estimates of organic matter storage depended on soil mass. Appraisals of organic matter depletion or accumr- lation usually were different for cimparisonr u-ong element masses in an equivalent soil mass than for comparisons among ele- ment massei in genetic horizons or in frxed sampling depths. Unless soil erosion or deposition had altered the mass of topsoil per unit area, comparisons among unequal soil massei were unjustified and erroneous. For management-induced changes in soil organic matter and nutrient storage to be assessed reliably, the masses of soil being compared must be equivalent.