Soil aggregation and organic carbon fractions in the Rio Grande de Arecibo watershed


Soil organic carbon
Soil organic nitrogen
Soil aggregates

How to Cite

Sotomayor-Ramírez, D., & Espinoza, Y. (2010). Soil aggregation and organic carbon fractions in the Rio Grande de Arecibo watershed. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 94(1-2), 25–39.


Cultivation affects soil organic matter loss through decreased soil structural stability. Sparse information is available for highly weathered soils. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of soil order (Ultisols and Inceptisols) and land use (agriculture and forest) on the formation of water stable aggregates, concentration of aggregate-associated C, and quality of C in aggregates from selected soils in a humid tropical watershed. Ultisols and soils under forest had increased soil C as a result of increased C concentrations in aggregates. Nearly 90% of the soil C was found in macroaggregates of soils under forest and in Ultisols. In forest and agriculture land use, soil silt+clay content was an important determinant for C storage in the bulk soil but not in aggregates. Cultivation reduced the percentage of soil mass in large macroaggregates (>2,000 urn) relative to that in forest soils, whereas Ultisols had greater soil mass percentage in large macroaggregates than Inceptisols. Overall, macroaggregates have higher labile and stable C than microaggregates. Ultisols had greater amounts of labile C but similar proportions of stable C. As has been found in other soils dominated by mixed-mineralogy and 1:1 clays and oxides, aggregate-associated C is not the sole determinant for the formation of macroaggregates.


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