Changes in soil organic carbon fractions after remediation of a coastal floodplain soil

V. N. L. Wong, C. McNaughton, A. Pearson

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Coastal floodplain soils and wetland sediments can store large amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC). These environments are also commonly underlain by sulfidic sediments which can oxidise to form coastal acid sulfate soils (CASS) and contain high concentrations of acidity and trace metals. CASS are found on every continent globally except Antarctica. When sulfidic sediments are oxidised, scalds can form, which are large bare patches without vegetation. However, SOC stocks and fractions have not been quantified in these coastal floodplain environments. We studied the changes in soil geochemistry and SOC stocks and fractions three years after remediation of a CASS scald. Remediation treatments included raising water levels, and addition of either lime (LO) or lime and mulch (LM) relative to a control (C) site. We found SOC concentrations in the remediated sites (LO and LM) were more than double than that found at site C, reflected in the higher SOC stocks to a depth of 1.6 m (426 Mg C/ha, 478 Mg C/ha and 473 Mg C/ha at sites C, LO and LM, respectively). The particulate organic C (POC) fraction was higher at sites LO and LM due to increased vegetation and biomass inputs, compared to site C. Reformation of acid volatile sulfide (AVS) occurred throughout the profile at site LM, whereas only limited AVS reformation occurred at sites LO and C. Higher AVS at site LM may be linked to the additional source of organic matter provided by the mulch. POC can also potentially contribute to decreasing acidity as a labile SOC source for Fe3+ and SO42- reduction. Therefore, coastal floodplains and wetlands are a large store of SOC and can potentially increase SOC following remediation due to i) reduced decomposition rates with higher water levels and waterlogging, and ii) high C inputs due to rapid revegetation of scalded areas and high rates of biomass production. These results highlight the importance of maintaining vegetation cover in coastal floodplains and wetlands for sequestering SOC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Acidity
  • Coastal acid sulfate soil
  • Particulate organic carbon
  • Scald
  • Sulfidic sediments

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