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How much soil organic carbon sequestration is due to conservation agriculture reducing soil erosion?

Li, Yong, Yu, Hanqing, Chappell, Adrian ORCID:, Zhou, Na and Funk, Roger 2014. How much soil organic carbon sequestration is due to conservation agriculture reducing soil erosion? Soil Research 52 (7) , pp. 717-726. 10.1071/SR14078

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Soil organic carbon (SOC) redistribution by soil erosion is fundamental to the C cycle and is a key component of global soil C accounting. Widespread conversion of cropland to forest and grassland and the adoption of conservation agriculture (minimum-till and no-till practices) worldwide and particularly in China since 2000, may have reduced wind erosion and increased SOC storage and ‘avoided’ CO2 emission. However, few SOC sequestration studies have separated changes in SOC stock caused by changes in land-use and management activity from net SOC redistribution due to reduced SOC erosion and SOC dust accumulation, particularly from individual or short-term (months) wind erosion events. We used measurements of SOC and the short-lived natural radionuclide beryllium-7 (7Be, half-life 53.3 days) to estimate net SOC redistribution for changes in several land-use and management practices in Fengning County in North China. Compared with conventional tillage (CT), conservation grassland (CG) and minimum tillage (CL) showed enhanced SOC stocks (0–245 mm depth) of ~0.8 ± 0.03 and 2.0 ± 0.06 t C ha–1 year–1 as a consequence of their land-use conversion for 5 and 3 years, respectively. However, SOC erosion on CG (0.46 ± 0.04 t C ha–1 year–1) and CL (0.52 ± 0.04 t C ha–1 year–1) plots was 54% and 47%, respectively, less than on CT (0.99 ± 0.11 t C ha–1 year–1). Net C sequestration (0–245 mm), considering SOC redistribution for CG (0.27 ± 0.12 t C ha–1 year–1; 5 years) and CL (1.53 ± 0.13 t C ha–1 year–1; 3 years), revealed an overestimate of 196% and 31% without considering SOC redistribution (CG, 0.8 ± 0.03 t C ha–1 year–1; CL, 2.0 ± 0.06 t C ha–1 year–1), respectively, relative to CT. Reduced SOC erosion and/or SOC dust accumulation by vegetation–crop cover must be included when considering SOC sequestration induced by changes in land use and management

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
ISSN: 1838-675X
Date of Acceptance: 22 May 2014
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 07:55

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