Soil carbon and nitrogen after eight years of rotational grazing in the Nebraska Sandhills meadows

Gandura O. Abagandura, Martha Mamo, Walter H. Schacht, Aaron Shropshire, Jerry D. Volesky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Grassland provides many ecosystem services; therefore, sustainable management practices of grassland are crucial for maintaining and enhancing its ecosystem health and resilience. Rotational grazing at a high stocking density (a.k.a., ultrahigh stocking density) is purported to sequester greater amounts of carbon (C) in grassland soils than rotational grazing at low stocking densities. This study was conducted in the Nebraska Sandhills meadows for eight years to evaluate how rotational grazing with different stocking densities can affect soil C and total nitrogen (TN) in bulk soils, soil organic matter fractions, and sequestration rate. The grazing management included a high stocking density with one grazing cycle (MOB), a 4-pasture rotation system with one grazing cycle at a low stocking density (4PR1), and no grazing (CNT). Results showed that soil C and N contents were higher in the total particulate organic matter fraction than in the soil mineral-associated organic fraction at the 0–10 cm depth and visa verse at the 10–20 cm depth. Grazing management did not affect C and N contents in the bulk soils (SOC averaged 28.19 g C kg−1 and TN averaged 2.67 g N kg−1 at the 0–10 cm depth). Both MOB and 4PR1 grazing treatments recorded similar C and N contents in all SOM fractions. However, the MOB grazing treatment increased C and N contents in the macro-aggregate occluded particulate and dissolved organic matter fractions compared to the CNT. The 4PR1 grazing treatment increased soil C and N contents in the dissolved organic matter and mineral-associated organic matter fractions and increased SOC sequestration rate compared to the CNT. Rotational grazing at a low stocking density for one cycle appears to enhance long-term SOC accumulation in these Sandhills meadows soil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116776
JournalGeoderma
Volume442
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Grazing
  • Soil Carbon
  • Soil Nitrogen
  • Soil Organic Matter Fractions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Soil carbon and nitrogen after eight years of rotational grazing in the Nebraska Sandhills meadows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this