Carbon sequestration potential of a 27-year-old tree-based intercropping system in southwestern Ontario
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This study aimed to quantify carbon (C) pools and fluxes in a 27-year-old tree-based intercropping (TBI) system as compared to a conventional agricultural system at the University of Guelph�s Agroforestry Research Station (43o 16�N 89o 26�W) (established 1987). Tree species quantified during this study include poplar hybrid (Populus spp.), Norway spruce (Picea abies), red oak (Quercus rubra), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and white cedar (Thuja occidentalis). In the TBI system, above- and belowground biomass, along with soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations, litterfall, litter decomposition and soil respiration were quantified. In the conventional agricultural field, SOC, litter decomposition and soil respiration were quantified. Preliminary results indicated higher C sequestration potential rate with faster growing species such as poplar, and slower potential rate for slower growing species such as spruce and cedar. SOC accumulation was highest in the predominant wind direction (east), closest to the tree rows (0.5 m), and at shallower depths (10-20 cm) for all species. SOC accumulation was highest under poplar tree, followed by spruce, oak and walnut. Quantities of litterfall followed similar pattern and decomposition rates are still being analyzed. Soil respiration rates were higher in TBI systems and at distances closer to the tree row. Further results will be presented on the total measured C pools and fluxes and the importance of C sequestration potential of a 27-year-old TBI system to sequester atmospheric C and mitigate climate change. Accumulation of SOC can also have implications on crop yields and long term stability of TBI soils.