Comparison of minirhizotron and soil core methods for quantifying root biomass in a temperate alley cropping system
Authors: Jose, S.; Gillespie, A.; Seifert, J.; Pope, P.
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 50, Number 2, May 2001 , pp. 161-168(8)
Abstract:A study was carried out in southern Indiana, USA with the objective of comparing soil core sampling and the minirhizotron technique in quantifying fine root biomass and root distribution patterns in an alley cropping system with black walnut (Juglans nigra L.), northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and maize (Zea mays L.). Spatial variation in tree rooting pattern was investigated prior to planting maize. Tree fine root biomass was quantified at distances of 0, 1.1, 2.3, 3.5, and 4.3 m where 0 m represents the tree row and 4.3 m represents the middle of the alley. Root samples were collected to a depth of 90 cm using a hydraulic auger. Maize rooting pattern was determined 65 days after planting to the same depth. Using plexiglass access tubes installed near the actual soil core locations and a minirhizotron camera root images were recorded on a VHS tape. These images were later analyzed using a raster based GIS software (ERDAS-IMAGINE). Regression analysis revealed significant relationships between root surface area measurements from minirhizotron observations and fine root biomass data from soil coring for all species. Predicted fine root biomass data were also in close agreement with actual fine root biomass for all species examined. Maize root biomass was slightly, but not significantly, underestimated by the minirhizotron technique in the top 30 cm soil layer. No significant underestimation or overestimation of root biomass in surface or deeper soil layers was observed for the tree species. The results indicate that minirhizotron can be used in quantifying fine root biomass if site and species specific predictive models can be developed.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Publication date: May 2001