Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Environmental Sciences


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Kenneth Farrish

Second Advisor

Brian Oswald

Third Advisor

Frantisek Majs

Fourth Advisor

Jason Grogan


Understanding ecosystem carbon dynamics is of increasing importance with atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations on the rise. Land management strategies, such as land use conversion, effect ecosystem carbon cycling dynamics and can alter the quantity of carbon sequestered in vegetation and soils. In East Texas and much of the southern United States, there has been a trend of converting marginal pastureland into loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations. This afforestation, like all other land use conversions, leads to a redistribution of carbon in vegetation and soil carbon sinks. In 2003, five marginal pasturelands in East Texas were afforested with loblolly pine with the intent of quantifying the organic carbon sequestered as a result of this land use change. In 2003 and 2015, soils were sampled on three of the sites in East Texas to measure the change in soil organic carbon in the top 40 cm of soil, and the accumulated O horizons were sampled in 2015. In the summer of 2017, tap root systems and coarse roots on each of the three sites were excavated to quantify belowground biomass. All sites experienced increases in carbon sequestered belowground in coarse roots, tap roots, and also O horizons. Only one site had a statistically significant increase in soil organic carbon (SOC).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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