Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (241 KB)

Title: Greater Soil Carbon Sequestration under Nitrogen-fixing Trees Compared with Eucalyptus Species.

Author: Resh, Sigrid C.; Binkley, Dan; Parrotta, John A.;

Date: 2002

Source: Ecosystems 5 :217–231

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Forests with nitrogen-fixing trees (N–fixers) typically accumulate more carbon (C) in soils than similar forests without N–fixing trees. This difference may develop from fundamentally different processes, with either greater accumulation of recently fixed C or reduced decomposition of older soil C. We compared the soil C pools under N–fixers with Eucalyptus (non–N–fixers) at four tropical sites: two sites on Andisol soils in Hawaii and two sites on Vertisol and Entisol soils in Puerto Rico. Using stable carbon isotope techniques, we tracked the loss of the old soil organic C from the previous C4 land use (SOC4) and the gain of new soil organic C from the C3, N–fixer, and non–N–fixer plantations (SOC3). Soils beneath N–fixing trees sequestered 0.11 +/- 0.07 kg per square per y (mean +/- one standard error) of total soil organic carbon (SOCT) compared with no change under Eucalyptus (0.00 +/- 0.07 kg per square meter per yr; P = 0.02). About 55% of the greater SOCT sequestration under the N–fixers resulted from greater retention of old SOC4, and 45% resulted from greater accretion of new SOC3. Soil N accretion under the N–fixers explained 62% of the variability of the greater retention of old SOC4 under the N–fixers. The greater retention of older soil C under N–fixing trees is a novel finding and may be important for strategies that use reforestation or afforestation to offset C emissions.

Keywords: Key words: carbon accretion, carbon retention, carbon sequestration, Eucalyptus, Hawaii, isotopes, nitrogen-fixing trees, Puerto Rico, soil organic carbon.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Resh,Sigrid C.; Binkley, Dan; Parrotta, John A. 2002. Greater Soil Carbon Sequestration under Nitrogen-fixing Trees Compared with Eucalyptus Species. Ecosystems 5 :217–231


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.