Management Intensity Effects on Lawn Soil Carbon Content in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon Urban Ecosystem
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Prior research suggests lawns sequester large amounts of carbon, but the effects of different management regimes on this is poorly known. Within the Eugene-Springfield, OR urban area lawn management ranges from intensive (high: weekly mowing, summer irrigation, herbicide and fertilizer application) to non-intensive techniques (low: spring and fall mowing, clippings left on lawn). I examined if these two regimes affect soil carbon content and vertical distribution after at least 20 years of consistent management. I sampled 17 lawns in June 2013 and four remnant prairies in midsummer. At each site, I extracted three to five soil cores to one-meter depth. Soils were separated by horizon, with horizon depth and volume measured. Measurement of soil carbon-nitrogen (CN) content revealed low-management lawns stored more CN at < 46 cm depth, but a trend of increasing CN with depth in high-management lawns. This thesis includes unpublished co-authored material.