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Carbon dynamics associated with different land uses in north central Alberta Open Access


Other title
Land use
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Arevalo, Carmela B.M.
Supervisor and department
Chang, Scott (Renewable Resources)
Bhatti, Jagtar (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Kachanoski, R. Gary (Renewable Resources)
Gordon, Andrew (University of Guelph)
Feng, Youngsheng ( Renewable Resources)
St. Louis, Vincent (Biological Sciences)
Department of Renewable Resources

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Land use and land use change strongly influence the carbon (C) dynamics within ecosystems. This study quantified four aspects of land use and land use change effects: 1) ecosystem C stocks and distribution; 2) soil respiration; 3) soil C mineralization; and 4) net ecosystem productivity. Land use systems studied include agriculture (AG), 2-yr- and 9-yr-old hybrid poplar plantations (2HP and 9HP, respectively), grassland (GRA), and native forest stand (NAT). Ecosystem C stock in NAT (223 Mg C ha-1) was similar to 9HP (174 Mg C ha-1) and both were significantly greater than AG (122 Mg C ha-1), GRA (121 Mg C ha-1), and 2HP (110 Mg C ha-1). Cumulative soil C loss via soil respiration averaged over two growing seasons was in the order of: NAT (7.81±0.40 Mg C ha-1) > 9HP (5.51±0.31 Mg C ha-1) > GRA (5.23±0.30 Mg C ha-1) > AG (5.02±0.24 Mg C ha 1) > 2HP (4.28±0.20 Mg C ha-1). Depending on land use, seasonal heterotrophic and autotrophic respiration had respective contributions to soil respiration of up to 35 and 83%. Soil C mineralization of bulk soil across the land uses ranged between 2 to 5% of initial total organic C (Ci), with mineralization rates ranging from 0.06 to 0.12 µg C mg-1 Ci d-1 and mean residence times ranging from 30 to 51 yrs. Across particle size fractions, soil C mineralization was in the order of: AG > HPs > GRA > NAT of which the coarse fractions, representing labile C, were the main source of mineralized C (79%). Mineralization increased when NAT was converted to AG; and decreased when AG was converted to HP or GRA. Net ecosystem productivity across land uses, expressed in terms of C, ranged between 2 (AG) and 11 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 (older HP). Conversion from AG to GRA increased net ecosystem productivity three-fold. When AG was converted to HP, the plantation was a C source in the first four years and became a C sink by year five. Results obtained from this study are relevant to modeling efforts designed at determining the impact of future climate change on a variety of land uses.
License granted by Carmela Arevalo ( on 2010-01-28T23:30:09Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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