Carbon and nitrogen accumulation within four black walnut alley cropping sites across Missouri and Arkansas, USA

Agroforestry systems that integrate useful long-lived trees have been recognized for their potential in mitigating the accumulation of atmospheric fossil fuel-derived carbon (C). Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is frequently planted and cultivated in North America for its valuable lumber and edible nuts, and is highly amenable to the integration of understory crops or livestock in agroforestry systems. However, little is known about C content in black walnut trees, including the amounts of C assimilated into lignocellulosic tissues within different tree compartments. Therefore, allometric equations for above- and below-ground compartments of 10-year-old black walnut trees across diverse locations were developed. Ten grafted black walnut trees from each of four sites across the midwestern USA were destructively harvested for above- and below-ground biomass, and dry biomass weight (DWw), C (Cw) and nitrogen (N; Nw) stocks were quantified. Soils surrounding the harvested trees were sampled and analyzed for soil organic C (SOC) and total N (TN). Total DWw ranged from 27 to 54 kg tree−1, with woody tissues containing an average of 467 g kg−1 C and 3.5 g kg−1 N. Woody tissues differed in Cw and Nw across location, and above-ground sections contained more C and less N compared with most root tissues. The slopes of the allometric equations did not differ significantly among locations, while intercepts did, indicating that trees only differed in initial size across locations. SOC and TN did not vary in distance from the trees, likely because the trees were not yet old enough to have impacted the surrounding soils. Our results establish a foundation for quantifying C and N stocks in newly established black walnut alley cropping systems across diverse environments.
© The Author(s) 2020. This article is published with open access at and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems , available online at: . Keywords: Juglans nigra; allometry; root-shoot ratio; log-log models; North America; United States of America.
Thomas, A.L., Kallenbach, R., Sauer, T.J., Brauer, D. K., Burner, D. M., Coggeshall, M. V., Dold, C., Rogers, W., Bardhan, S., & Jose, S. (2020). Carbon and nitrogen accumulation within four black walnut alley cropping sites across Missouri and Arkansas, USA. Agroforestry Systems, 94, 1625–1638.