Temperature and vegetation effects on soil organic carbon quality along a forested mean annual temperature gradient in North America
Both climate and plant species are hypothesized to influence soil organic carbon (SOC) quality, but accurate prediction of how SOC process rates respond to global change will require an improved understanding of how SOC quality varies with mean annual temperature (MAT) and forest type. We investigated SOC quality in paired hardwood and pine stands growing in coarse textured soils located along a 22 °C gradient in MAT. To do this, we conducted 80-day incubation experiments at 10 and 30 1C to quantify SOC decomposition rates, which we used to kinetically define SOC quality. We used these experiments to test the hypotheses that SOC quality decreases with MAT, and that SOC quality is higher under pine than hardwood tree species.