Postdoc Fellowship: Carbon Storage Consequences of Land Use Change in the Tallgrass Prairie Region of North America

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposal evaluates the soil C sequestration potential of the tall grass prairie region of North America under different land use scenarios. Due to the significant reduction in soil organic C pools that has resulted from extensive cultivation of the region, restoring this prairie ecosystem is predicted to sequester large amounts of C below ground. However, estimates of soil C sequestration resulting from land use change are highly dependent on pre-land use estimates of soil C storage. Moreover, I propose that due to this region's wet climate and nearness to eastern deciduous forest a second type of "restoration" is also occurring on abandoned cropland within the area, namely conversion of abandoned cropland to woodland. This proposed research willI) determine current ecosystem C storage of native tall grass prairie relicts across the pre-settlement range, 2) quantify the soil C consequences of restoring abandoned cultivated fields to tall grass prairie or woodland, 3) evaluate the differences in the processes controlling soil C storage between tall grass prairie and woodland, and 4) explore the long-term differences in soil C sequestration between restored grassland and woodland and the timescales required for each vegetation type to reach maximum levels of C sequestration using the simulation model CENTURY. By coupling regionally extensive and site-specific intensive field work, this research will provide important information on the impact of agricultural and rangeland practices on tallgrass prairie ecosystem function.
Effective start/end date8/1/0612/31/07


  • Cooperative State Research Education and Extension: $32,244.00


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