Information on changes in storage and loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) when tropical forests are converted to cropland is needed for evaluating soil structural degradation and for selecting appropriate sustainable soil management practices. We evaluated changes in SOC storage of organic carbon and acid-hydrolyzable carbohydrates content of aggregated classes and particle size fractions of adjacent forested and cultivated soils in eight agroecosystems from Ethiopian highlands and Nigerian lowlands. In all agroecosystems, SOC content was two to four times higher in the forested than the cultivated soils. Higher SOC content was found in Ethiopian (20.2-47.3 g.kg-1) than Nigerian (12.0-24.0 g.kg-1) forested soils. The magnitude of reduction in SOC and total carbohydrates with cultivation was soil-specific, being generally higher in the sandy than the clayey soils. The smaller aggregate classes (< 1.00 mm) and the sand-sized particles (2000-63 μm) of the forested soils were preferentially enriched in carbohydrates relative to larger aggregates (4.75-1.00 mm). Carbohydrates were more concentrated in the clay-size fraction of the forested than in that of the cultivated soils. Cultivation reduced aggregate stability, increased the proportions of the smaller size aggregates and their associated carbohydrates relative to the forested soils. The susceptibility of the cultivated soils to loss in structural stability reflected this initial aggregation which was greater in the more stable clayey than the fragile sandy soils. The aggregate stability of either the forested or the cultivated soil could not be accounted for by the levels of OC or total carbohydrates in the
Carbohydrates in water-stable aggregates and particle size fractions of forested soils in two contrasting tropical ecosystems (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225920737_Carbohydrates_in_water-stable_aggregates_and_particle_size_fractions_of_forested_soils_in_two_contrasting_tropical_ecosystems [accessed Dec 28, 2015].