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Stable carbon isotopes as an indicator for soil degradation in an alpine environment (Urseren Valley, Switzerland)

Schaub, M. and Alewell, C.. (2009) Stable carbon isotopes as an indicator for soil degradation in an alpine environment (Urseren Valley, Switzerland). Rapid communications in mass spectrometry, Vol. 23, H. 10. pp. 1499-1507.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5251141

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Abstract

Analyses of soil organic carbon (SOC) content and stable carbon isotope signatures (delta C-13) Of Soils were assessed for their suitability to detect early stage soil erosion. We investigated the soils in the alpine Urseren Valley (southern central Switzerland) which are highly impacted by soil erosion. Hill slope transects from uplands (cambisols) to adjacent wetlands (histosols and histic to mollic gleysols) differing in their intensity of visible soil erosion, and reference wetlands without erosion influence were sampled. Carbon isotopic signature and SOC content of soil depth profiles were determined. A close correlation of delta C-13 and carbon content (r < 0.80) is found for upland soils not affected by soil erosion, indicating that depth profiles of delta C-13 of these upland soils mainly reflect decomposition of SOC. Long-term disturbance of an upland soil is indicated by decreasing correlation of delta C-13 and SOC W 0.80) which goes in parallel with increasing (visible) damage at the site. Early stage soil erosion in hill slope transects from uplands to adjacent wetlands is documented as an intermediate delta C-13 value (-27.5 parts per thousand) for affected wetland soil horizons (0-12cm) between upland (aerobic metabolism, relatively heavier delta C-13 of -26.6 parts per thousand) and wetland isotopic signatures (anaerobic metabolism, relatively lighter delta C-13 of -28.6 parts per thousand). Carbon isotopic signature and SOC content are found to be sensitive indicators of short- and long-term soil erosion processes. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Alewell, Christine
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:1097-0231
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:28
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:05

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