Temporal variation of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen stock and concentration along land use, species and elevation gradient of chilimo dry afromonate forest and adjacent land uses, ethiopia

Mehari A. Tesfaye 1, Andres Bravo Oviedo 2, Felipe Bravo 3


Forests play a vital role in the natural global carbon cycle by capturing carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and converting it into forest biomass. Forests sequester and stores more carbon than any terrestrial ecosystem and act as sources as well as sinks of CO2. However, the increasing rate of deforestation and the impact of changes in land use require a critical and updated look at what is happening in the tropics. This work emphasized the temporal variation of bulk density, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stock and concentration in four land-use categories: natural forest, tree plantations, crop-land and degraded soil along elevation gradient and soil depth. The study was conducted in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia, where deforestation and human pressure on native forests are exacerbated and erosion has caused extensive soil loss. We hypothesized that, there is temporal variation of C and N concentrations and stocks in native forest along elevation gradient, land use type, species and soil depth. Carbon and N concentrations and stock and bulk densities in mineral soil were analysed as repeated measures in an irregular vertical space ranging from 0–10 cm, 10–30 cm, 30–50 cm and 50–100 cm, using a linear mixed model approach in two-time scale period 2012 - 2017. Double observations in 2012 and 2017, were made from the forest floor were analysed by a general linear mixed model. There is significant variation in organic carbon and nitrogen stock along elevation gradient for forest floor. Results also indicated that soil depth is more important factor than elevation gradient in native forests, though C and N concentrations and stocks diminished near human settlements. Native forest stored on average more nitrogen than bare soil, cropland and plantations, respectively. Conversion of crop and degraded land into plantations ameliorated soil degradation conditions, but species selection did not affect carbon and nitrogen stocks. Thus, appropriate forest management options should be applied in order to increase productivity and carbon sink of Chilimo dryafromontane forest and adjacent land use. Temporal monitoring and reporting of carbon stock and concentration is also important to understand the role of Chilimo dryafromonate forest in climate change mitigation and adaptation agendas.


forest floor; mineral soil; soil depth; mixed model; species identity; impact assessment

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