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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2011, Vol.340(1), pp.7-24
    Description: Spatial prediction of soil organic matter is a global challenge and of particular importance for regions with intensive land use and where availability of soil data is limited. This study evaluated a Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) approach to model the spatial distribution of stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC), total carbon (C tot ), total nitrogen (N tot ) and total sulphur (S tot ) for a data-sparse, semi-arid catchment in Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Random Forest (RF) was used as a new modeling tool for soil properties and Classification and Regression Trees (CART) as an additional method for the analysis of variable importance. At 120 locations soil profiles to 1 m depth were analyzed for soil texture, SOC, C tot , N tot , S tot , bulk density (BD) and pH. On the basis of a digital elevation model, the catchment was divided into pixels of 90 m × 90 m and for each cell, predictor variables were determined: land use unit, Reference Soil Group (RSG), geological unit and 12 topography-related variables. Prediction maps showed that the highest amounts of SOC, C tot , N tot and S tot stocks are stored under marshland, steppes and mountain meadows. River-like structures of very high elemental stocks in valleys within the steppes are partly responsible for the high amounts of SOC for grasslands (81–84% of total catchment stocks). Analysis of variable importance showed that land use, RSG and geology are the most important variables influencing SOC storage. Prediction accuracy of the RF modeling and the generated maps was acceptable and explained variances of 42 to 62% and 66 to 75%, respectively. A decline of up to 70% in elemental stocks was calculated after conversion of steppe to arable land confirming the risk of rapid soil degradation if steppes are cultivated. Thus their suitability for agricultural use is limited.
    Keywords: Classification and Regression Trees (CART) ; Soil organic carbon (SOC) ; China ; Grassland
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 2
    In: Global Change Biology, February 2014, Vol.20(2), pp.653-665
    Description: Sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C) in soils through improved management of forest and agricultural land is considered to have high potential for global mitigation. However, the potential of soils to sequester soil organic carbon () in a stable form, which is limited by the stabilization of against microbial mineralization, is largely unknown. In this study, we estimated the C sequestration potential of soils in southeast Germany by calculating the potential saturation of silt and clay particles according to Hassink [ (1997) 77] on the basis of 516 soil profiles. The determination of the current content of silt and clay fractions for major soil units and land uses allowed an estimation of the C saturation deficit corresponding to the long‐term C sequestration potential. The results showed that cropland soils have a low level of C saturation of around 50% and could store considerable amounts of additional . A relatively high C sequestration potential was also determined for grassland soils. In contrast, forest soils had a low C sequestration potential as they were almost C saturated. A high proportion of sites with a high degree of apparent oversaturation revealed that in acidic, coarse‐textured soils the relation to silt and clay is not suitable to estimate the stable C saturation. A strong correlation of the C saturation deficit with temperature and precipitation allowed a spatial estimation of the C sequestration potential for Bavaria. In total, about 395 Mt CO‐equivalents could theoretically be stored in A horizons of cultivated soils – four times the annual emission of greenhouse gases in Bavaria. Although achieving the entire estimated C storage capacity is unrealistic, improved management of cultivated land could contribute significantly to mitigation. Moreover, increasing stocks have additional benefits with respect to enhanced soil fertility and agricultural productivity.
    Keywords: Agricultural Management ; Climate Change ; Mitigation ; Soil Organic Carbon Stocks ; Soil Fractionation ; Stabilization Of Soil Organic Matter
    ISSN: 1354-1013
    E-ISSN: 1365-2486
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Science of the Total Environment, 01 December 2015, Vol.536, pp.1045-1051
    Description: To access, purchase, authenticate, or subscribe to the full-text of this article, please visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.064 Byline: Martin Wiesmeier [wiesmeier@wzw.tum.de] (a,*), Rico Hubner (b), Ingrid Kogel-Knabner (a,c) Keywords Soil organic carbon; Climate change; Net primary productivity; Soil C input Highlights * C stocks in agricultural soils may be largely affected by climate change. * It is assumed that C stocks would increase due to an assumed increase of NPP. * However, crop statistics indicate stagnating yields of major crops since the 1990s. * Concurrently stagnating C inputs would lead to C decreases in the long-term. * Indications for declining agricultural C stocks were already found. Abstract The carbon (C) balance of agricultural soils may be largely affected by climate change. Increasing temperatures are discussed to cause a loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) due to enhanced decomposition of soil organic matter, which has a high intrinsic temperature sensitivity. On the other hand, several modeling studies assumed that potential SOC losses would be compensated or even outperformed by an increased C input by crop residues into agricultural soils. This assumption was based on a predicted general increase of net primary productivity (NPP) as a result of the CO.sub.2 fertilization effect and prolonged growing seasons. However, it is questionable if the crop C input into agricultural soils can be derived from NPP predictions of vegetation models. The C input in European croplands is largely controlled by the agricultural management and was strongly related to the development of crop yields in the last decades. Thus, a glance at past yield development will probably be more instructive for future estimations of the C input than previous modeling approaches based on NPP predictions. An analysis of European yield statistics indicated that yields of wheat, barley and maize are stagnating in Central and Northern Europe since the 1990s. The stagnation of crop yields can probably be related to a fundamental change of the agricultural management and to climate change effects. It is assumed that the soil C input is concurrently stagnating which would necessarily lead to a decrease of agricultural SOC stocks in the long-term given a constant temperature increase. Remarkably, for almost all European countries that are faced with yield stagnation indications for agricultural SOC decreases were already found. Potentially adverse effects of yield stagnation on the C balance of croplands call for an interdisciplinary investigation of its causes and a comprehensive monitoring of SOC stocks in agricultural soils of Europe. Author Affiliation: (a) Lehrstuhl fur Bodenkunde, Department fur Okologie und Okosystemmanagement, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan fur Ernahrung, Landnutzung und Umwelt, Technische Universitat Munchen, 85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany (b) Lehrstuhl fur Strategie und Management der Landschaftsentwicklung, Department fur Okologie und Okosystemmanagement, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan fur Ernahrung, Landnutzung und Umwelt, Technische Universitat Munchen, 85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany (c) Institute for Advanced Study, Technische Universitat Munchen, Lichtenbergstr. 2a, 85748 Garching, Germany * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 23 April 2015; Revised 12 July 2015; Accepted 13 July 2015 (miscellaneous) Editor: D. Barcelo
    Keywords: Soil Organic Carbon ; Climate Change ; Net Primary Productivity ; Soil C Input ; Environmental Sciences ; Biology ; Public Health
    ISSN: 0048-9697
    E-ISSN: 1879-1026
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  • 4
    In: Global Change Biology, October 2015, Vol.21(10), pp.3836-3845
    Description: Organic carbon () sequestration in degraded semi‐arid environments by improved soil management is assumed to contribute substantially to climate change mitigation. However, information about the soil organic carbon () sequestration potential in steppe soils and their current saturation status remains unknown. In this study, we estimated the storage capacity of semi‐arid grassland soils on the basis of remote, natural steppe fragments in northern China. Based on the maximum saturation of silt and clay particles 〈20 μm, sequestration potentials of degraded steppe soils (grazing land, arable land, eroded areas) were estimated. The analysis of natural grassland soils revealed a strong linear regression between the proportion of the fine fraction and its content, confirming the importance of silt and clay particles for stabilization in steppe soils. This relationship was similar to derived regressions in temperate and tropical soils but on a lower level, probably due to a lower C input and different clay mineralogy. In relation to the estimated storage capacity, degraded steppe soils showed a high saturation of 78–85% despite massive losses due to unsustainable land use. As a result, the potential of degraded grassland soils to sequester additional was generally low. This can be related to a relatively high contribution of labile , which is preferentially lost in the course of soil degradation. Moreover, wind erosion leads to substantial loss of silt and clay particles and consequently results in a direct loss of the ability to stabilize additional . Our findings indicate that the loss in semi‐arid environments induced by intensive land use is largely irreversible. Observed increases after improved land management mainly result in an accumulation of labile prone to land use/climate changes and therefore cannot be regarded as contribution to long‐term sequestration.
    Keywords: Climate Change ; Fine Fraction ; Soil Organic Carbon ; Soil Texture ; Steppe Soils
    ISSN: 1354-1013
    E-ISSN: 1365-2486
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2011, Vol.340(1), pp.35-58
    Description: Semiarid steppe ecosystems account for large terrestrial areas and are considered as large carbon (C) sinks. However, fundamental information on topsoil sensitivity to grazing is lacking across different spatial scales including the effects of topography. Our interdisciplinary approach considering soil chemical, physical, and vegetation properties included investigations on pit scale (square-metre scale), plot scale (hectare scale), and the scale of a landscape section (several hectares). Five different sites, representing a grazing intensity gradient, ranging from a long-term grazing exclosure to a heavily grazed site were used. On the pit scale, data about aggregate size distribution, quantity of different soil organic carbon (SOC) pools, SOC mineralisation, hydraulic conductivity and shear strength was available for topsoil samples from representative soil profiles. Spatial variability of topographical parameters, topsoil texture, bulk density, SOC, water repellency, and vegetation cover was analysed on the basis of regular, orthogonal grids in differently grazed treatments by using two different grid sizes on the plot scale and landscape section. On the pit scale, intensive grazing clearly decreased soil aggregation and the amount of fresh, litter-like particulate organic matter (POM). The weak aggregation in combination with animal trampling led to an enhanced mineralisation of SOC, higher topsoil bulk densities, lower infiltration rates, and subsequently to a higher risk of soil erosion. On the plot scale, the effects of soil structure disruption due to grazing are enhanced by the degradation of vegetation patches and resulted in a texture-controlled wettability of the soil surface. In contrast, topsoils of grazing exclosures were characterised by advantageous mechanical topsoil characteristics and SOC-controlled wettability due to higher POM contents. A combined geostatistical and General Linear Model approach identified topography as the fundamental factor creating the spatial distribution of texture fractions and related soil parameters on the scale of a landscape section. Grazing strongly interfered with the topography-controlled particle relocation processes in the landscape and showed strongest effects on the aboveground biomass production and biomass-related soil properties like SOC stocks. We conclude that interdisciplinary multi-scale analyses are essential (i) to differentiate between topography- and grazing-controlled spatial patterns of topsoil and vegetation properties, and (ii) to identify the main grazing-sensitive processes on small scales that are interacting with the spatial distribution and relocation processes on larger scales.
    Keywords: Steppe soils ; Soil organic matter fractions ; Organic carbon mineralisation ; Wind erosion ; Texture ; Vegetation cover ; Shear strength ; Hydraulic conductivity ; Water repellency ; Anisotropy
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 6
    In: Global Change Biology, March 2018, Vol.24(3), pp.987-1000
    Description: Agricultural soils are widely recognized to be capable of carbon sequestration that contributes to mitigating emissions. To better understand soil organic carbon () stock dynamics and its driving and controlling factors corresponding with a period of rapid agronomic evolution from the 1980s to the 2010s in the North China Plain (), we collected data from two region‐wide soil sampling campaigns (in the 1980s and 2010s) and conducted an analysis of the controlling factors using the random forest model. Between the 1980s and 2010s, environmental (i.e. soil salinity/fertility) and societal (i.e. policy/techniques) factors both contributed to adoption of new management practices (i.e. chemical fertilizer application/mechanization). Results of our work indicate that stocks in the croplands increased significantly, which also closely related to soil total nitrogen changes. Samples collected near the surface (0–20 cm) and deeper (20–40 cm) both increased by an average of 9.4 and 5.1 Mg C ha, respectively, which are equivalent to increases of 73% and 56% compared with initial stocks in the 1980s. The annual carbon sequestration amount in surface soils reached 10.9 Tg C year, which contributed an estimated 43% of total carbon sequestration in all of China's cropland on just 27% of its area. Successful desalinization and the subsequent increases in carbon (C) inputs, induced by agricultural projects and policies intended to support crop production (i.e. reconstruction of low yield farmland, and agricultural subsidies), combined with improved cultivation practices (i.e. fertilization and straw return) since the early 1980s were the main drivers for the stock increase. This study suggests that rehabilitation of soils to reduce salinity and increase crop yields have also served as a pathway for substantial soil C sequestration. SOC stocks in the NCP croplands increased significantly; these changes were accompanied by changes in soil total nitrogen (TN). Annual carbon sequestration in surface soils reached 10.9 Tg C yr, which contributed an estimated 43% of total carbon sequestration in all of China’s cropland on just 27% of its area. Successful desalinization and the subsequent increases in carbon (C) inputs, induced by agricultural projects and policies (i.e. agricultural subsidies), combined with improved cultivation practices (i.e. fertilization, and straw return) since the early 1980s were the main drivers for this SOC stock increase.
    Keywords: Agricultural Policies ; Improved Cultivation ; N Stock Change ; Random Forest ; Soil Organic Carbon Stock Change
    ISSN: 1354-1013
    E-ISSN: 1365-2486
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 01 March 2014, Vol.185, pp.208-220
    Description: The management of soils as well as the impact of land use or climate changes are often evaluated in view of the storage of total soil organic carbon (SOC). However, as soil organic matter (SOM) is composed of different compounds with different degrees of stability and turnover times, there is the need for a soil- and land use-specific quantification of functional SOC pools. In this study, the amount of active, intermediate and passive SOC pools was determined for major soil types and land uses of Bavaria in southeast Germany. At 99 locations, soil horizons down to the parent material were fractionated according to the method of . The results showed that in cropland and grassland soils around 90% of total SOC stocks can be assigned to the intermediate and passive SOC pool. High SOC stocks in grassland soils are partly related to a higher degree of soil aggregation compared to cropland soils. The contribution of intermediate SOC in cropland soils was similar to that in grassland soils due to an increased proportion of SOM associated with silt and clay particles. The cultivation-induced loss of SOC due to aggregate disruption is at least partly compensated by increased formation of organo-mineral associations as a result of tillage that continuously promotes the contact of crop residues with reactive mineral surfaces. Contrary, forest soils were characterized by distinctly lower proportions of intermediate and passive SOC and a high amount of active SOC in form of litter and particulate organic matter which accounted for almost 40% of total SOC stocks. As both the amount of intermediate and passive SOC were lower in forest soils, we conclude that cropland and grassland soils may be more advantageous for long-term SOC storage in Bavaria. The high amount of labile SOC in forest topsoils poses the risk of considerable SOC losses caused by wildfire, mechanical disturbances or increasing temperatures.
    Keywords: Soil Organic Matter ; Soil Fractions ; Carbon Sequestration ; Climate Change ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Soil & Tillage Research, 2009, Vol.104(2), pp.299-310
    Description: Overgrazing has led to severe degradation and desertification of semi-arid grasslands in Northern China over the last decades. Despite the fact that vegetation is often heterogeneously distributed in semi-arid steppes, little attention has been drawn to the effect of grazing on the spatial distribution of soil properties. We determined the spatial pattern of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (N ), total sulphur (S ), bulk density (BD), pH, Ah thickness, and carbon isotope ratios (δ C) at two continuously grazed (CG) and two ungrazed (UG79 = fenced and excluded from grazing in 1979) sites in and dominated steppe ecosystems in Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Topsoils (0–4 cm) were sampled at each site using a large grid (120 m × 150 m) with 100 sampling points and a small plot (2 m × 2 m) with 40 points. Geostatistics were applied to elucidate the spatial distribution both at field (120 m × 150 m grid) and plant (2 m × 2 m plot) scale. Concentrations and stocks of SOC, N , S were significantly lower and BD significantly higher at both CG sites. At the field scale, semivariograms of these parameters showed a heterogeneous distribution at UG79 sites and a more homogeneous distribution at CG sites, whereas nugget to sill ratios indicated a high small-scale variability. At the plant scale, semivariances of all investigated parameters were one order of magnitude higher at UG79 sites than at CG sites. The heterogeneous pattern of topsoil properties at UG79 sites can be attributed to a mosaic of vegetation patches separated by bare soil. Ranges of autocorrelation were almost congruent with spatial expansions of grass tussocks and shrubs at both steppe types. At CG sites, consumption of biomass by sheep and hoof action removed vegetation patches and led to a homogenization of chemical and physical soil properties. We propose that the spatial distribution of topsoil properties at the plant scale (〈2 m) could be used as an indicator for degradation in semi-arid grasslands. Our results further show that the maintenance of heterogeneous vegetation and associated topsoil structures is essential for the accumulation of SOM in semi-arid grassland ecosystems.
    Keywords: Semi-Arid Grassland ; Steppe Degradation ; Overgrazing ; Spatial Homogenization ; Soil Organic Matter ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 0167-1987
    E-ISSN: 1879-3444
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Biology and Fertility of Soils, 4/2012, Vol.48(3), pp.305-313
    Description: Soil labile organic carbon (C) oxidation drives the flux of carbon dioxide (CO sub(2)) between soils and the atmosphere. However, the impact of grazing management and the contribution soil aggregate size classes (ASCs) to labile organic C from grassland soils is unclear. We evaluated the effects of grazing intensity and soil ASC on the soil labile organic C, including CO sub(2) production, microbial biomass C, and dissolved organic C and nitrogen (N) mineralization in topsoils (0-10 cm) in Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Soil samples were separated into ASCs of 0-630 mu m [fine ASC (fASC)], 630-2000 mu m [medium ASC (mASC)] and 〉2000 mu m [coarse ASC (cASC)]. The results showed that heavy grazing (HG) and continuous grazing (CG) increased soil labile organic C significantly compared to an ungrazed site since 1999 (UG99) and an ungrazed site since 1979 (UG79). For winter grazing site (WG), no significant differences were found. CO sub(2) production was highest in cASC, while lowest in fASC. Microbial biomass C and dissolved organic C showed the highest values in mASC and were significantly lower in fASC. Grazing increased N mineralization in bulk soils, while it exhibited complex effects in the three ASCs. The results suggest that the rate of C mineralization was related to the rate of N accumulation. To reduce CO sub(2) emission and nutrient loss, and to improve soil quality and productivity, a grazing system with moderate intensity is suggested.
    Keywords: Soil ; Grasslands ; Carbon ; Grazing ; Oxidation ; Soils (Organic) ; Biomass ; Mineralization ; Carbon Dioxide ; Atmosphere ; Nutrient Loss ; Nitrogen ; Ecosystem and Ecology Studies;
    ISSN: 0178-2762
    E-ISSN: 1432-0789
    Source: Springer (via CrossRef)
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: European Journal of Agronomy, November 2014, Vol.61, pp.10-23
    Description: In agricultural soils, the formation of soil organic matter largely depends on the carbon (C) input by crop residues and rhizodeposition, which is thus of decisive importance for the management and prediction of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in cropland and grassland. However, there is a remarkable lack of reliable, crop-specific C input data. We used a plant C allocation approach to estimate the C input of major crops and grassland into agricultural soils of Bavaria in southeast Germany. Historic and recent plant C allocation coefficients were estimated and C inputs were calculated for a 60-year period (1951–2010) using long-term agricultural statistics. The spatial distribution of C inputs within Bavaria was derived from county-specific statistical data. The results revealed increases of the C input by 107–139% for cereals, 173–188% for root, forage and leguminous crops and 34% for grassland in the last 60 years. This increase was related to linear yield increases until 1995 despite significant changes of plant C allocation. However, from 1995 onwards, crop yields and related C inputs stagnated, which allowed a robust estimation of recent crop-specific C input values. A total C input of 3.8–6.7 t ha yr was estimated for cereals, 5.2–6.3 t ha yr for root, forage and leguminous crops and 2.4 t ha yr for grassland. These amounts were partly higher compared to estimations in the literature. A generally high spatial variability of C inputs was detected within Bavaria with differences of up to 40% between adjacent counties. The results of this study could be used to optimize the C input of crop rotations and thus promote the formation of soil organic matter and C sequestration in agricultural soils on the basis of a soil carbon model. Moreover, recent estimations of C inputs could be used to model the future development of agricultural SOC stocks. A further stagnation of crop yields and the related C input under an ongoing temperature increase bears the risk of a future decrease of SOC stocks in cropland soils of Bavaria.
    Keywords: Soil Organic Carbon ; Climate Change ; Crop Yield ; Root-to-Shoot Ratio ; Harvest Index ; Rhizodeposition ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 1161-0301
    E-ISSN: 1873-7331
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