Soil carbon sequestration in bermudagrass golf course fairways in Lubbock, Texas

Gautam, P., Young, J., Sapkota, M., Longing, S. and Weindorf, D. (2020)

Agronomy Journal


Turfgrasses benefit the environment through conversion of CO2 into stable C stored in soils. Limited research on the sequestration potential of bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) has been conducted in semiarid climates. The objective of this study was to evaluate soil physiochemical properties of golf courses in Lubbock, TX, to determine C sequestration potential and longevity. Soil was obtained from fairways of five golf courses ranging in age from 13 to 93 yr. Shallow (0–7.5 cm) and deeper (7.5–15 cm) soil depths were tested for soil pH, electrical conductivity, soil organic matter, soil organic C (SOC), inorganic C, total N, inorganic N, and texture. After ANOVA and mean separation, principal component analysis (PCA) was used to group golf courses by soil depth or age. Soil organic matter and SOC decreased with depth, but the rate of SOC accumulation (0.22 Mg C ha−1 yr−1) was lower when compared with previous studies. Maximal C (35.1 and 23.7 Mg C ha−1 in the upper and lower depths) was consistent with previous studies, indicating that C accumulated for a longer period of time. The PCA explained 52.7% of variability in soil physiochemical properties on two axes, but PCA more effectively differentiated soil sampling depth than golf course age. High variability in data among fairways at a single golf course likely resulted in limited grouping capabilities. Including a broader regional representation of golf courses or sampling golf courses between 40 and 70 yr to quantify soils near maximal accumulation would strengthen future studies.

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