Resource Details

Soil organic matter dynamics during 80 years of reforestation of tropical pastures

Literature: Journal Articles

Marin-Spiotta, E., Silver, W., Swanston, C., & Ostertag, R. 2009 "Soil organic matter dynamics during 80 years of reforestation of tropical pastures", Global Change Biology, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1584-1597

Contact Info

Corresponding Author: Erika Marin-Spiotta,


  • Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, 137 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, USA,
  • U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Houghton, MI 49931, USA,
  • Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, 200 West Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720, USA


Global Change Biology

Selecting the link above redirects this page to the article on the journal website where the online material can be purchased or accessed if with subscription. For more information on access, see sidebar.



  • This article evaluated soil carbon along a chronosequence of forest restoration in Puerto Rico.
  • There were replicate sites of remnant forest fragments, pastures, and secondary forests that were growing on pastureland abandoned 10, 20, 30, 60 and 80 years prior.
  • In 2001-2002, bulk soils were collected in three pits per site.
  • The bulk soil carbon did not differ between pasture and secondary forests, nor with age of secondary forest. In some cases, pastures are suspected to have more soil carbon because of the higher rates of below-ground productivity and higher allocation to root biomass.
  • In other cases, the soil carbon is suspected to increase. In this case, the pasture-derived soil carbon (from C4 plants) was found to decrease while the forest-derived carbon (from C3 plants) increased, therefore resulting in the no net change in soil C.
  • The authors did find that the carbon in the soil organic matter, which was lost during conversion from forest to pasture, was regained with conversion to secondary forest.
  • Additionally, the authors found rapid turnover in soil organic matter.
  • The authors assert that the effect of reforestation on soil carbon is imperative to the consideration of carbon sequestration projects.

Geographical Region

  • Caribbean Islands
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • This database is a work in progress, and we need your input to keep it up to date. Feel free to contact ELTI at to provide information on your own work as well as other projects and literature currently missing from the database.


    ELTI is a joint initiative of:
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute