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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (6): 814-819    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0085-1
Brief Communication     
Variation in soil organic matter accumulation and metabolic activity along an elevation gradient in the Santa Rosa Mountains of Southern California, USA
1 Department of Soil Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo ND 58108–6050, USA;
2 Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside CA 92521, USA
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Abstract  Variations in soil organic matter accumulation across an elevation can be used to explain the control of substrate supply and variability on soil metabolic activity. We investigated geographic changes in soil organic matter and metabolic rates along an elevation gradient (289–2,489 m) in the Santa Rosa Mountains, California, USA from subalpine and montane pine forests through chaparral to desert. From base (289 m) to summit (2,489 m), 24 sites were established for collecting soil samples under canopies and inter-canopy spaces, at 0–5 and 5–15 cm soil depths increments. Soil organic matter (SOM) content was determined using weight loss on ignition at 550°C and soil CO2 efflux (R) was measured at day 5 (R5) and day 20 (R20) of incubation. Changes in SOM content along the elevation gradient showed a significant relationship (P<0.05) but R5 and R20 were not related to either elevation or SOM content. However, the ratio of R and SOM (R5/SOM) showed a strong relationship across the mountains at both soil depths. R5/SOM, as an indicator of carbon use efficiency, may be applicable to other semi-arid transects at larger scale modeling of soil metabolic processes.

Received: 27 August 2014      Published: 10 December 2015
Corresponding Authors: Amitava CHATTERJEE     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Amitava CHATTERJEE, George D JENERETTE. Variation in soil organic matter accumulation and metabolic activity along an elevation gradient in the Santa Rosa Mountains of Southern California, USA. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(6): 814-819.

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