• Title, Summary, Keyword: SOC

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Soil organic carbon characteristics relating to geomorphology near Vestre Lovénbreen moraine in Svalbard

  • Jung, Ji Young;Lee, Kyoo;Lim, Hyoun Soo;Kim, Hyun-Cheol;Lee, Eun Ju;Lee, Yoo Kyung
    • Journal of Ecology and Environment
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    • v.37 no.2
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    • pp.69-79
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    • 2014
  • Soil organic carbon (SOC) in the Arctic is vulnerable to climate change. However, research on SOC stored in the high Arctic regions is currently very limited. Thus, this study was aimed at understanding the distribution and characteristics of SOC with respect to geomorphology and vegetation in Svalbard. In August 2011, soil samples were collected near the Vestre Lov$\acute{e}$nbreen moraine. Sampling sites were chosen according to altitude (High, Mid, and Low) and differences in levels of vegetation establishment. Vegetation coverage, aboveground biomass, and SOC contents were measured, and density-size fractionation of SOC was conducted. The SOC content was the highest in the Mid site ($126.9mg\;g^{-1}$) and the lowest in the High site ($32.1mg\;g^{-1}$), although aboveground biomass and vegetation coverage were not different between these two sites. The low SOC content measured at the High site could be related to a slower soil development following glacial retreat. On the other hand, the Low site contained a high amount of SOC despite having low vegetative cover and a high ratio of sand particles. These incompatible relationships between SOC and vegetation in the Low site might be associated with past site disturbances such as runoff from snow/glacier melting. This study showed that geomorphological features combined with glacier retreat or melting snow/glacier effects could have affected the SOC distribution and vegetation establishment in the high Arctic.