Soil Health and Ecosystem Services in Ohio State University's Chadwick Arboretum
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors Theses; 2020
This work aims to examine soil health and ecosystem services in the Chadwick Arboretum on Ohio State University's Columbus campus. Healthy soils serve as a foundation for plant and tree health, as well as helping to provide many ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and stormwater control. As a 62-acre public arboretum, Chadwick is intensively managed by a team of horticulturalists since 1980, while having relatively few disturbances to soils (compared to an agricultural system). However, Chadwick is also an urban space, and urban soils often deviate from undisturbed soil profiles and properties due to anthropogenic influences and land use history. To assess soil health in the arboretum presently and determine what management practices may be beneficial, soil samples were pulled from each sub-area of the Learning Gardens and Lane Avenue Gardens. A literature review was also done to determine gaps in the urban soils literature and management practices at other arboreta. Soil chemical analyses including pH, major cations (K, Mg, Ca), cation exchange capacity (CEC), and phosphorus (P) were performed by Penn State Extension labs. Results show good soil chemical properties in the areas tested and show no major concerns to soil health. Additional tests planned included total soil carbon and nitrogen and bulk density every 20cm to 1m depth. Unfortunately, due to limited lab access because of COVID-19, some data could not be collected. However, the original plan for data collection will still be presented. Despite the unforeseen changes, this work still hopes to build a framework for understanding, valuing, and managing soil health and ecosystem services in a large urban greenspace, and contribute to an understanding and valuing of urban soils in the research literature.
Academic Major: Environmental Science
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