JOBBAGY GAMPEL Esteban Gabriel
Carbon sequestration in semiarid rangelands: Comparison of Pinus ponderosa plantations and grazing exclusion in NW Patagonia
NOSETTO, MD; JOBBAGY, EG; PARUELO, JM
JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS
Lugar: Amsterdam, Holanda; Año: 2005 p. 1 - 15
The large global extension of arid and semi-arid regions together with their widespreaddegradation give these areas a high potential to sequester carbon. We explored the possibilities ofsemi-arid ecosystems to sequester carbon by means of rangeland exclusion and afforestation withPinus ponderosa in NW Patagonia (Argentina). We sampled all pools where organic carbonaccumulates in a network of five trios of adjacent grazed, non-grazed and afforested stands (age:1225 years, density 6051052 trees ha1). After 15 years since trees were planted, afforestation added 50% more C to the initial ecosystem carbon pool, with annual sequestration rate ranging0.53.3MgCha1 year1. Carbon gains in afforested stands were higher above than below-ground(150% vs. 32%). Root biomass differences (374% more in afforested vs. grazed stands, p ¼ 0:0011) explained below-ground carbon contrasts whereas soil organic carbon showed no differences with afforestation. By contrast, grazing exclosures did not result in significant changes in the total carbon storage in comparison with the adjacent grazed stands (p ¼ 0:42) suggesting a slow ecosystem recovery in the time frame of this study (15 years of exclusion). Nevertheless, higher litter amount was found in the former (+53%, p ¼ 0:07). Neither, soil organic carbon nor root carbon showed significant differences between grazed and non-grazed conditions. Considering that more than 1.1 millions of hectares of the studied ecosystems are highly degraded and suitable for tree planting, afforesting this area could result in a carbon sequestration rate of 1.7 Tg C year1, almost 6% of the A current fossil fuel emissions of Argentina; however environmental consequences which could emerge from this deep land use shift must be taken into account when afforestation program are being designed.