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Modeling soil organic carbon change in croplands of China


Schimel,  D.
Department Biogeochemical Systems, Prof. D. Schimel, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Li, C. S., Zhuang, Y. H., Frolking, S., Galloway, J., Harriss, R., Moore Iii, B., et al. (2003). Modeling soil organic carbon change in croplands of China. Ecological Applications, 13(2), 327-336.

Using 1990 conditions, we modeled carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) biogeochemical cycles in croplands of China (and, for comparison, the United States) to estimate the annual soil organic-carbon (SOC) balance for all cropland. Overall, we estimate that China's croplands lost 1,.6% of their SOC (to a depth of 0.3 in) in 1990, and that U.S. cropland lost 0.1%. A key element in this difference was that similar tO25% of aboveground crop residue in China was returned to the soil, compared to similar to90% in the United States. In China, SOC losses were greatest in the northeast (similar to10(3) kg C.ha(-1).yr(-1)), and were generally smaller (<0.5 X 10(3) kg C.ha(-1).yr(-1)) in regions with a longer cultivation history. Some regions showed SOC gains, generally <10(3) kg C.ha(- 1).yr(-1). Reduced organic-matter input to China's cropland soils, and lower overall SOC levels in those soils, led to lower levels of N mineralization in the simulations, consistent with higher rates of synthetic-fertilizer application in China. C and N cycles are closely linked to soil fertility, crop yield, and non-point-source environmental pollution.