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Evaluation of Soil Organic Carbon and Soil Moisture Content from Agricultural Fields in Mississippi

DOI: 10.4236/ojss.2013.32009, PP. 81-90

Keywords: Soil Organic Carbon, Soil Moisture Content, Cropland, Land Uses

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Abstract:

Independent observation of the effects of agricultural management practices on soil organic carbon (SOC) with soil moisture content (SMC) is essential to quantify their potential relationships for sustainable ecosystems. Soil water retention studies and soil carbon stocks have been mapped in some areas worldwide. However, few studies have been conducted in the southeastern US, particularly in Mississippi. The objectives of this research study were to collect soil samples from fields chosen to be representative of the watersheds they are contained within, analyze the soil samples for carbon content and soil moisture content, and evaluate the relationship between SOC and different parameters (land use, vertical distribution, temporal distribution, and soil moisture content). Field sites were chosen based on their compositional similarity shared with the watershed as a whole in the Town Creek watershed (TCW) and Upper Pearl River watershed (UPRW) in Mississippi. Monthly soil samples from different depths (6 inch, 12 inch, and 24 inch) were collected from crop, pasture, and forest field areas. Soil samples were analyzed using bench analysis, elemental analysis, and statistical analysis. This study was able to demonstrate the SOC distribution in the soil layers across all three land uses studied. It was also shown that there does seem to be an interactive effect of parameters such as land use type, vertical distribution, and time on carbon accretion within the soil. Results of this study also determined that the near surface (6-in) layer was found to contain significantly more carbon than either the 12 inch or 24 inch layers (p < 0.01) across all field types. There was found to be a high degree of variability within the soil moisture data and correlation between SOC and SMC. It was found that carbon amount is not influenced by SMC but SMC could be influenced by SOC.

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