The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

No detectable broad-scale effect of livestock grazing on soil blue-carbon stock in salt marshes

No detectable broad-scale effect of livestock grazing on soil blue-carbon stock in salt marshes
No detectable broad-scale effect of livestock grazing on soil blue-carbon stock in salt marshes

Grassland carbon capturing and storage (CCS) is thought to benefit from regulation of grazing. The impact is likely to depend on livestock density. Yet, few studies have tested this principle or evaluated the consistency of grazer-carbon relationships across multiple sites. We sampled four intertidal zones across 22 salt marshes along a 650 km stretch of coast in the UK to examine the impact of livestock density on globally important saltmarsh "blue carbon" stocks. Although there were marked impacts of grazing pressure on above ground vegetation composition, structure and biomass, there was no detectable relationship between grazing intensity and soil organic carbon, irrespective of tidal zone in the marsh or soil depth-layer analyzed. A substantial spatial variation in soil carbon was instead explained by contextual environmental variables. There was evidence that compensatory responses by vegetation, such as increased root growth, countered carbon loss from grazing impacts. Our work suggests that grazing effects on carbon stocks are minimal on broader scales in comparison with the influence of environmental context. The benefits of grazing management to carbon stores are likely to be highly context dependent.

Blue carbon, Broad-scale, Environmental context, Grazing, Saltmarsh
1-12
Harvey, Rachel J.
6c251fcd-5cf7-4e3a-856f-9e218e22fddc
Garbutt, Angus
aefc9588-fda0-4ac1-9a82-7231466a0120
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Skov, Martin W.
65e28de7-a166-4b80-bda0-a41af9764e42
Harvey, Rachel J.
6c251fcd-5cf7-4e3a-856f-9e218e22fddc
Garbutt, Angus
aefc9588-fda0-4ac1-9a82-7231466a0120
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Skov, Martin W.
65e28de7-a166-4b80-bda0-a41af9764e42

Harvey, Rachel J., Garbutt, Angus, Hawkins, Stephen J. and Skov, Martin W. (2019) No detectable broad-scale effect of livestock grazing on soil blue-carbon stock in salt marshes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7 (May), 1-12, [151]. (doi:10.3389/fevo.2019.00151).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Grassland carbon capturing and storage (CCS) is thought to benefit from regulation of grazing. The impact is likely to depend on livestock density. Yet, few studies have tested this principle or evaluated the consistency of grazer-carbon relationships across multiple sites. We sampled four intertidal zones across 22 salt marshes along a 650 km stretch of coast in the UK to examine the impact of livestock density on globally important saltmarsh "blue carbon" stocks. Although there were marked impacts of grazing pressure on above ground vegetation composition, structure and biomass, there was no detectable relationship between grazing intensity and soil organic carbon, irrespective of tidal zone in the marsh or soil depth-layer analyzed. A substantial spatial variation in soil carbon was instead explained by contextual environmental variables. There was evidence that compensatory responses by vegetation, such as increased root growth, countered carbon loss from grazing impacts. Our work suggests that grazing effects on carbon stocks are minimal on broader scales in comparison with the influence of environmental context. The benefits of grazing management to carbon stores are likely to be highly context dependent.

Text
fevo-07-00151 - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (1MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 May 2019
Keywords: Blue carbon, Broad-scale, Environmental context, Grazing, Saltmarsh

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432338
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432338
PURE UUID: 24e2833b-fdb3-45b2-ad69-74bd14e6c22c

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Jul 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:31

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×