Sampling and processing roots from rocky forest soils

TitleSampling and processing roots from rocky forest soils
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsFahey, TJ, Yanai, RD, Gonzales, KE, Lombardi, JA
Paginationn/a - n/a
Date Published2017/06/01/
ISBN Number2150-8925
Keywordsbias, Biomass, Carbon, error, Fine roots, power analysis, soil coring, Special Feature: Uncertainty Analysis, Uncertainty

Quantifying root biomass in rocky forest soils is challenging. This report provides practical advice for field sampling and laboratory processing of root biomass in these settings. Manual coring is the most efficient method for sampling fine root biomass in the upper soil profile (we sampled to 30 cm). However, careful correction for coarse fragment volume is needed because manual coring is impeded by rocks. Unbiased estimation of root biomass below obstructions requires either excavating a pit or power coring. We recommend power coring because of the very high field labor costs of pit excavation. Roots can be separated from soil either by dry picking or by wet sieving. For surface organic matter-rich horizons typical of many forest soils, only dry picking is feasible. A timed interval approach can greatly reduce laboratory processing time. Because sorting live from dead roots is necessarily subjective, efforts to avoid fragmentation of root systems obtained from cores are strongly recommended. Sample size requirements for detecting changes or differences in root biomass at the stand level are presented based on extensive sampling in northern hardwood forests. Detecting 20% differences in fine root (

Short TitleEcosphere