Yi Jun Xu and Biao Zhong
Soil carbon storage and dynamics represent an important component in the global carbon cycle. LSU AgCenter scientists are conducting a study to quantify soil carbon storage and investigate its spatial distribution and relationships with land use types across the state of Louisiana. The Soil Geographic Database (STATSGO) and land cover data were used to aggregate total soil carbon and estimate average soil carbon density by soil organic carbon (SOC) analysis and GIS spatial analysis. The study found an average soil carbon density of 53 tons per acre in Louisiana, larger than that of the conterminous United States and Alaska (39 tons per acre). The historical and current Mississippi River deltaic lobes in the southeastern tip of Louisiana have the highest soil carbon density. The study reveals that soils under emergent herbaceous wetlands, evergreen forests and row crops are among the largest carbon sinks and that land use types exert significant impacts on soil carbon storage.
(This article was published in the winter 2008 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)