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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 1, p. 175-184
     
    Received: May 16, 2002
    Published: Jan, 2004


    * Corresponding author(s): mermut@sask.usask.ca
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doi:10.2136/sssaj2004.1750

Carbon Distribution in a Hummocky Landscape from Saskatchewan, Canada

  1. A. Landib,
  2. A. R. Mermut *a and
  3. D. W. Andersona
  1. b Shahid Chamran University, Faculty of Agriculture, Dep. of Soil Science, Ahwaz, Iran
    a Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada

Abstract

Changes in the topography influence organic and inorganic C contents and δ13C values of soil C across a landscape. The objectives of this research were to: (i) study the effect of landscape on the formation and distribution of pedogenic carbonate and organic matter distribution in a hummocky landscape, and (ii) estimate the amount of organic C and pedogenic carbonate accumulation in local scale in comparison with regional scale using the stable isotope geochemistry techniques and standard characterization analyses. A hummocky landscape, typical of 38% of Saskatchewan's land, with glacial till parent material under virgin grassland, was studied. Organic C content of A horizons range between 20 to 98 g kg−1 Both extremes occurred in level positions of the south-facing and north-facing slopes. The lowest δ13C value of organic C (−29.6‰) was measured in a depression and the highest (more positive) was obtained on a shoulder (−21.7‰). The δ13C values of carbonate ranged from −0.9‰ (carbonated parent material) at the 114-cm depth in level complex to −7.9‰ at depth of 100 cm in footslope complex and depression. The amount and percentage of pedogenic carbonate was higher in north-facing slopes than in southward slopes. The highest proportion and amount of pedogenic carbonate up to 1-m depth was found in Calcicryolls in footslope complex position in the north-facing slope, and likely represents a gain in carbonate through lateral flows. The lowest proportion and amount (34.4% and 33.9 kg m−2) was found in the shoulder complex segment of west-facing slope and in footslope complex position in east-west direction. On average, the rate of accumulation is about 1.25 g C m−2 yr−1 of inorganic C (pedogenic carbonate) and 1.25 g C m−2 yr−1 as organic C. These are close to the calculated rate of 1.4 g C m−2 yr−1 for Dark Brown, and 1.3 g C m−2 yr−1 for Black soils (Mollisols) in Saskatchewan.

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