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Carbon Inputs and Water Uptake in Deep Soils of an Eastern Amazon Forest

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Rooting depth affects soil profiles of water uptake and carbon inputs. Here we explore the importance of deep roots in a mature tropical forest of eastern Amazonia, where a throughfall exclusion experiment was conducted to test the resilience of the forest to experimentally induced drought. We hypothesized that soil water depletion occurred below the depth previously measured by sensors in 11-m-deep soil pits and that only a small root biomass is necessary to affect water uptake and the isotopic signature of soil CO2. A noninvasive electrical profiling method demonstrated greater depletion of soil water in the 11‐18 m depth increment in the exclusion plot compared with the control plot by the end of the 3rd year of the experiment. A fine root biomass of only 0.1 g/cm3 measured at 3‐6 m was sufficient for soil water drawdown and for imparting an isotopic signature of modern soil 14CO2 in both plots. A soil 13CO2 profile indicated drought stress in the exclusion plot. Fine root inputs of organic C to deep soils are small with respect to the carbon dynamics of the forest, but the deep rooting habit clearly affects the ecosystem water balance and profiles of soil CO2.

Keywords: CO2; roots; soil organic matter; soil resistivity; soil water

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-02-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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