Soil Sustainability Lab Dr. Sigrid C. Resh


Wood it matter: using stable carbon isotopes to trace wood fluxes and storage during decomposition

Collaborators: Erik Lilleskov (USDA Forest Service), Evan Kane (Michigan Tech), Marty Jurgensen (Michigan Tech), Dana Richter (Michigan Tech), Andy Burton (Michigan Tech)

MS Student: Sam Mosier (graduated in 2015)

Funding: Office of Science (BER) U.S. Department of Energy (award # DE-SC-0006986)

wood is found in a variety of sizes and states of decomposition on the landscape, but how important is that wood to soil organic carbon forms and functions.
what about the contribution of below ground wood to soil carbon storage?

treatments for our wood decomposition study

  • wood quality from FACE wood fumigation treatments
  • fungal inoculations
  • wood location on or within the soil profile
  • soil texture
  • warming with open topped chambers
Wood for our decomposition study came from the Aspen FACE project in Wisconsin, where the wood was grown in ambient, enriched carbon dioxide, and enriched carbon dioxide + ozone atmospheric conditions, creating our wood quality treatments. Pure fossil fuel carbon dioxide was used for the fumigation treatments, creating wood that was about 14 per mille more depleted in 13C than the soil where we established our treatments. It was this this isotopic depletion that is allowing us to trace wood-derived carbon into and out of the soil.

the Aspen FACE wood quality treatments were transported to Michigan Tech, where the wood was chipped, heat treated to 80C, inoculated with white, brown, or natural (endemic suite of microbes on the wood upon arrival) rot, and incubated for three months

preparing the wood for the field treatments
meanwhile the six field sites (3 sandy- and 3 loamy-textured soils) were cleared in the Upper Peninula of Michigan
clearing the six sites of all overstory

In late summer 2012, the inoculated wood chips were deployed either buried 15 cm in the soil or on the surface of the soil. Plots were 1 m x 1 m.

wood location treatment with buried and surface wood chips
one of our field sites
we have been measuring the loss of wood-derived carbon as soil carbon dioxide efflux and dissolved organic carbon over the first two growing seasons
Treatment plots consistently had higher soil carbon dioxide fluxes than "no wood" control plots for all measurements, and the flux rates were very similar for both growing seasons.
wood location (buried vs surface) showed the most significant effect on soil carbon dioxide efflux
White and natural rot produced significantly more dissolved organic carbon (DOC) relative to brown rot. Furthermore, the DOC from brown rot showed traits associated with less decomposition such as less phenolics and less humification (data not shown).
the decomposers matter

wood-derived C fluxes were significantly affected by:

  • wood location (less C loss from buried wood chips, suggesting the importance of buried wood (e.g., lignified roots) for soil C pools)
  • warming with OTCs (more C loss from surface wood chip plots when warmed)
  • fungal inoculations (more C loss from white and natural rots)
  • wood qualities (more C loss from wood grown in elevated carbon dioxide and ambient atmosphere treatments compared to that of elevated carbon dioxide + ozone treatments)

wood-derived C fluxes were not affected by:

  • soil textures

next steps: measure wood carbon in the soil density fractions and the fungal communities on the wood chips

Soil sustainability of woody bioenergy crops in the Americas

This a sub-team project to a large NSF-PIRE project (PI: Kathy Halvorsen) addressing socio-economic, policy, and ecological (biodiversity, hydrology, and soil sub-teams) sustainability of bioenergy production. There are over 50 U.S. and international collaborators on the larger project.

Soil sustainability collaborators: Rod Chimner (Michigan Tech), Julian Licata (INTA, Argentina, David Palma (Colegio de Postgraduados (CP), Mexico), and Lilia Roa Fuentes (CCGSS, Mexico)

PhD student: Michelle Cisz-Brill

oil palm plantation in foreground; secondary forest in background

Objective 1: To quantify how bioenergy production alters the amount and type of soil C sequestered or lost (total soil organic C and soil density fractions)

Objective 2: To quantify how bioenergy production alters soil nutrients (total and available N, P, K, Ca, Mg)

Objective 3: To integrate field data into an ecosystem model for predictions about multiple rotations and management intensities

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.