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Modelling soil organic carbon stocks and their changes in the northeast of Spain

AuthorsÁlvaro-Fuentes, Jorge ; Easter, Mark; Cantero-Martínez, Carlos; Paustian, Keith
Issue DateOct-2011
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationÁlvaro-Fuentes J, Easter M, Cantero-Martínez C, Paustian K, Modelling soil organic carbon stocks and their changes in the northeast of Spain. European Journal of Soil Science 62: 685-695 (2011)
AbstractCurrently, there is little information about soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and changes in Mediterranean areas at a regional scale. We modelled an area of 95 269 km2 in northeast Spain using the Global Environmental Facility Soil Organic Carbon (GEFSOC) system to predict SOC stocks and changes in pasture, forest and agricultural soils. The spatial distribution of the different land-use categories and their change over time was obtained by using the Corine database and official Spanish statistics on land use from 1926 to 2007. The model predicted the largest current SOC stock in forest soils at 578 Tg C. Agricultural soils were the second largest SOC reservoir, containing 244 Tg C. During the last 30 years, the model predicted a total SOC gain in the 0–30-cm soil layer of 34 Tg C. Forest and grassland-pasture soils had a decline in their stored SOC of 5 and 3 Tg C, respectively, because of the reduction in the soil surface occupied by both classes. The greatest SOC gain was predicted in agricultural soils with 42 Tg C caused by changes in management, which led to increases in C inputs. Although model uncertainty was not quantified, some hypothetical assumptions about the initialization and parameterization of the model could be potential sources of uncertainty. Our simulations predicted that in northeast Spain soil management has contributed to the sequestration of substantial amounts of atmospheric CO2 during the last 30 years. More research is needed in order to study the potential role of soils as atmospheric CO2 sinks under different managements and climatic conditions.
Description40 Pags., 6 Tabls., 7 Figs. The definitive version is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2389
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.2011.01390.x
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