Event Title

Remote Sensing and Decomposition Rates of Forest Succession Plots in the Piedmont of South Carolina

Poster Number

075

Session Title

Food, Environment, and Climate Change

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Scott Werts, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Description

The Piedmont of the U.S. is dominated by ultisol soils, which often contain highly weathered geologic materials. Due to the diverse nature of land development in the southeastern U.S., these soils are often under a wide range of developmental stages and, especially in the surface horizons, contain a great deal of spatial variability in properties. In this study, we have begun a decompositional study of four forested plots in various stages of succession of former farmland. Litter bags containing native litter and cellulose paper were placed at each site and collected over two-week intervals in order to compare decomposition rates from site to site. Remote sensing stations were also established at each location to record differences in soil temperature and soil moisture. Initial results suggest that there is high variability of decomposition rates in between all the sites, even when controlled for litter type with cellulose paper. Initial decomposition rates were higher for native vegetation than the litter paper. The most recently established plot showed the highest initial rate of decomposition, followed by the more well established sites. Although soil temperature was higher in the lesser established plots, soil moisture remained lower in all these plots during the decomposition study as well, which may explain the slower decomposition rates.

Previously Presented/Performed?

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, December 2019; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

Grant Support?

Supported by the Boland Geology Endowment and the Margaret E. Spencer Undergraduate Fellowship

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Remote Sensing and Decomposition Rates of Forest Succession Plots in the Piedmont of South Carolina

The Piedmont of the U.S. is dominated by ultisol soils, which often contain highly weathered geologic materials. Due to the diverse nature of land development in the southeastern U.S., these soils are often under a wide range of developmental stages and, especially in the surface horizons, contain a great deal of spatial variability in properties. In this study, we have begun a decompositional study of four forested plots in various stages of succession of former farmland. Litter bags containing native litter and cellulose paper were placed at each site and collected over two-week intervals in order to compare decomposition rates from site to site. Remote sensing stations were also established at each location to record differences in soil temperature and soil moisture. Initial results suggest that there is high variability of decomposition rates in between all the sites, even when controlled for litter type with cellulose paper. Initial decomposition rates were higher for native vegetation than the litter paper. The most recently established plot showed the highest initial rate of decomposition, followed by the more well established sites. Although soil temperature was higher in the lesser established plots, soil moisture remained lower in all these plots during the decomposition study as well, which may explain the slower decomposition rates.