Estimating carbon stocks in tree biomass and soils under rotational woodlots and ngitili systems in Northwestern Tanzania
Woodlot and natural woodland systems in the semi-arid regions in Tanzania are believed to have a high potential to sequester carbon (C) in their biomass and the soil which may qualify for C credits under the current voluntary C market schemes like, the REDD program. However, our understanding of the processes influencing storage and dynamics of C in soils under semi-arid agroforestry systems such as these woodlot systems is limited. This study evaluated C pools in soil and tree biomass in woodlot species of Albizia lebbeck, Leucaena leucocephala, Melia azedarach, and Gmelina arborea; and in farmland and ngitili systems. Synchrotron-based C K-edge x-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy was also used to study the influence of these land use systems on the soil organic matter (SOM) chemistry to understand the mechanisms of soil C changes. Soil samples were collected to 1 m depth and subsamples for each land use system to 0.4 m depth were fractionated into macroaggregates (2000-250 μm), microaggregates (250-53 μm), and silt and clay-sized aggregates (<53 μm) to provide information of C dynamics and stabilization in various land uses. SOC was analyzed in whole and soil aggregates and biomass C was estimated using developed biomass models from the literatures. Aboveground biomass carbon in the woodlots from the Kahama district ranged from 11.76 Mg C ha-1 to 24.40 Mg C ha-1. Based on the age of woodlots and the rate of carbon sequestration potential (CSP), Gmelina arborea had the highest rate of aboveground C sequestration (3.59 Mg C ha-1 year-1). The SOC stocks in whole soil for the land use systems from the two districts ranged from 43-67 Mg C ha-1. The degraded ngitili did not show a reduction in SOC stocks despite reducing aboveground biomass C stocks by 15.11 Mg C ha-1. SOC in the woodlots were found to be associated more with the micro and silt-and clay-sized aggregates than the macroaggregates, reflecting high stability of SOC in the woodlot systems. The XANES C K-edge spectra revealed the stabilization of recalcitrant aromatic C compounds in the silt and clay-sized aggregates. This study demonstrates the significant contributions of woodlots in biomass C accumulation as well as long-term SOC stabilization in soil fractions. Thus, these agroforestry practices hold promise to meet household energy needs while contributing to climate change mitigation and adaption.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorVan Rees, Ken C.; Kimaro, Anthony A.
CommitteeFarrell, Richard; Peak, Derek
Copyright DateJune 2014
Biomass and Soil Carbon Sequestration
Long-term SOC stabilization in Soil Fractions