Monday, November 13, 2006

Carbon Sequestration in Plant Successional Studies.

Kevin R. Smith, Paula M. Gale, and Richard E. Joost. Univ of Tennessee at Martin, 256 Brehm Hall, Martin, TN 38238

Efforts to reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide involve trading carbon as a commodity on an open market. An understanding of the carbon dynamics in the local ecosystem is required before it can be valued as a commodity. In 2001 the University of Tennessee at Martin began an ecological study of plant succession. In our investigation plant and soil samples were collected from each of the successional plots and the pools of carbon that they represented were characterized. Carbon characterization included total, standing biomass, belowground biomass and soil recalcitrant and labile pools. Preliminary studies indicated that there was an initial buildup in the labile soil carbon pools. Further studies seem to indicate that the labile pool fluctuates, making it a poor value determinant. This study looks at measures of both labile and recalcitrant carbon cycle pools and the strengths and weaknesses of these methods as tools for valuation of carbon.