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Carbon Storage In The Soils And Vegetation Of Contrasting Land Uses In Northern New South Wales, Australia

Rick Young, Brian R Wilson, Malem McLeod, Clair Alston

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The organic carbon stock in biomass and soil profiles sampled from nearby paddocks with different land-use histories was estimated at 7 sites in the upper Liverpool Plains catchment and the Manilla district of north-western New South Wales, Australia. The distribution of soil carbon concentrations over a depth of 2 m was significantly affected by site and land use. Continuous cultivation and cropping over ≥20 years significantly depleted carbon concentrations compared with grassy woodlands in the surface 0.20 m at all sites and to a depth of 0.60 m at 3 sites. Depth of sampling (0–0.20 v. 0–1.0 m) significantly affected the differences between land uses at most sites regarding estimates of the stock of soil carbon. These results show that differences in soil carbon concentrations and stock size do not remain constant with depth between contrasting land uses. However, comparisons between land uses of the total amount of carbon stored were dominated by the number of trees per ha and the size of the trees in grassy woodlands. The implications of these results for carbon accounting are discussed.