Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-26
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-26

  03 Mar 2021

03 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Spatial patterns of aboveground phytogenic Si stocks in a grass-dominated catchment – Results from UAS based high resolution remote sensing

Marc Wehrhan1, Daniel Puppe2, Danuta Kaczorek1, and Michael Sommer1,2,3 Marc Wehrhan et al.
  • 1Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), “Landscape Pedology” Working Group, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
  • 2Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), “Silicon Biogeochemistry” Working Group, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
  • 3University of Potsdam, Institute of Geography and Environmental Science, 14476 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Various studies have been performed to quantify silicon (Si) stocks in plant biomass and related Si fluxes in terrestrial biogeosystems. Most of these studies were performed at relatively small plots with an intended low heterogeneity in soils and plant canopy composition, and results were extrapolated to larger spatial units up to global scale implicitly assuming similar environmental conditions. However, the emergence of new technical features and increasing knowledge on details in Si cycling leads to a more complex picture at landscape or catchment scales. Dynamic and static soil properties change along the soil continuum and might influence not only the species composition of natural vegetation, but its biomass distribution and related Si stocks. Maximum Likelihood (ML) classification was applied to multispectral imagery captured by an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) aiming the identification of land cover classes (LCC). Subsequently, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and ground-based measurements of biomass were used to quantify aboveground Si stocks in two Si accumulating plants (Calamagrostis epigejos and Phragmites australis) in a heterogeneous catchment and related corresponding spatial patterns of these stocks to soil properties. We found aboveground Si stocks of C. epigejos and P. australis to be surprisingly high (maxima of Si stocks reach values up to 98 g Si m−2), i.e., comparable to or markedly exceeding reported values for the Si storage in aboveground vegetation of various terrestrial ecosystems. We further found spatial patterns of plant aboveground Si stocks to reflect spatial heterogeneities in soil properties. From our results we concluded that (i) aboveground biomass of plants seems to be the main factor of corresponding phytogenic Si stock quantities and (ii) a detection of biomass heterogeneities via UAS-based remote sensing represents a promising tool for the quantification of lifelike phytogenic Si pools at landscape scales.

Marc Wehrhan et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-26', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-26', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 May 2021

Marc Wehrhan et al.

Marc Wehrhan et al.

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Short summary
Our study on an artificial catchment shows surprisingly high silicon stocks in the biomass of two grass species (C. epigejos, 7 g m−2; P. australis, 27 g m−2). The spatial distribution of C. epigejos was controlled by the distribution of initial sediment properties (Clay, Tiron-extractable Si). Soil wetness determined the occurrence of P. australis. The combination of UAS remote sensing with Si pools in plants provides a promising tool for new insights into Si biogeochemistry at catchment scale.
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