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Regional simulation of soil organic carbon dynamics for dry farmland in Northeast China using the CENTURY model

Feng Zhang, , Mingsong Zhao, Falv Qin, Xiaoyu Liu
Published: 19 January 2021
PLOS ONE , Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0245040

Abstract: Soil organic carbon content has a significant impact on soil fertility and grain yield, making it an important factor affecting agricultural production and food security. Dry farmland, the main type of cropland in China, has a lower soil organic carbon content than that of paddy soil, and it may have a significant carbon sequestration potential. Therefore, in this study we applied the CENTURY model to explore the temporal and spatial changes of soil organic carbon (SOC) in Jilin Province from 1985 to 2015. Dry farmland soil polygons were extracted from soil and land use layers (at the 1:1,000,000 scale). Spatial overlay analysis was also used to extract 1282 soil polygons from dry farmland. Modelled results for SOC dynamics in the dry farmland, in conjunction with those from the Yushu field-validation site, indicated a good level of performance. From 1985 to 2015, soil organic carbon density (SOCD) of dry farmland decreased from 34.36 Mg C ha−1 to 33.50 Mg C ha−1 in general, having a rate of deterioration of 0.03 Mg C ha−1 per year. Also, SOC loss was 4.89 Tg from dry farmland soils in the province, with a deterioration rate of 0.16 Tg C per year. 35.96% of the dry farmland its SOCD increased but 64.04% of the area released carbon. Moreover, SOC dynamics recorded significant differences between different soil groups. The method of coupling the CENTURY model with a detailed soil database can simulate temporal and spatial variations of SOC at a regional scale, and it can be used as a precise simulation method for dry farmland SOC dynamics.
Keywords: land use / Crops / carbon sequestration / Ecosystems / Fertilizers / Agricultural soil science / Crop Management / Agricultural production

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