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Spatial changes in soil organic carbon density and storage of cultivated

soils in China from1980to2000

Yanyan Yu,1,2Zhengtang Guo,1Haibin Wu,1Julia A.Kahmann,1,3and Frank Oldfield4

Received19November2008;revised4March2009;accepted13March2009;published20June2009.

[1]We address the spatial changes in organic carbon density and storage in cultivated

soils in China from1980to2000on the basis of measured data from individual studies

and those acquired during the second national soil survey in China.The results show

a carbon gain in$66%of the cultivated area of China as a whole with the increase in soil

organic carbon(SOC)density mostly ranging from10%to30%.Soil organic carbon

density increased in fluvi-aquic soils(fluvisols,Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)

of the United Nations)in north China,irrigated silting soils(calcaric fluvisols)in

northwest China,latosolic red earths(haplic acrisols/alisols),and paddy soils(fluvisols/

cambisols)in south China.In contrast,significant decreases are observed in black soils

(phaeozems)in northeast China and latosols(haplic acrisols)in southwest China.No

significant changes are detected in loessial soils(calcaric regosols)and dark loessial soils

(calcisols)in the loess plateau region.The total SOC storage and average density in the

upper20cm in the late1990s are estimated to be$5.37Pg C and2.77kg/m2,

respectively,compared with the values of$5.11Pg C and2.63kg/m2in the early1980s.

This reveals an increase of SOC storage of0.26Pg C and suggests an overall carbon sink

for cultivated soils in China,which has contributed2–3%to the global terrestrial

ecosystem carbon absorption from1980to2000.Statistical analyses suggest an

insignificant contribution to the observed SOC increase from climate change,and we

infer that it is mostly attributable to improved agricultural practices.Despite the SOC

density increases over20years,the SOC density of the cultivated soils in China in the

late1990s is still$30%lower compared to their uncultivated counterparts in comparable

soil types,suggesting a considerable potential for SOC restoration through improving

management practices.Assuming a restoration of$50%of the lost SOC in the next

30–50years,these soils could potentially absorb$1.03Pg C from the atmosphere.

Citation:Yu,Y.,Z.Guo,H.Wu,J.A.Kahmann,and F.Oldfield(2009),Spatial changes in soil organic carbon density and storage of cultivated soils in China from1980to2000,Global Biogeochem.Cycles,23,GB2021,doi:10.1029/2008GB003428.

1.Introduction

[2]In terrestrial ecosystems,the organic carbon pool in soils is about two times greater than in living vegetation [Post et al.,1990;Lal,1999].Its increase,stabilization or decrease plays an important role in regional carbon balances and in atmospheric CO2concentrations[Houghton et al., 1983].Cultivated soils,affected by anthropogenic activity, have been overall a significant carbon source through the conversion of forests or rangeland in the last century [Houghton,1999;Wu et al.,2003].Recent studies[Bruce et al.,1999;Lal,2004a,2004b]revealed that improved soil management could turn such a source into a CO2sink.This method has been suggested as an option for offsetting CO2 emission in the Kyoto Protocol and United Nations Frame-work Convention on Climate Change(United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,Kyoto Protocol, 1998,available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/ kpeng.pdf).

[3]Currently,China has$153.9million hectares of cultivated land,representing$10%of the world total [World Resources Institute(WRI),2005].Clarifying the temporal and spatial carbon changes and the sequestration potentials in such a large region is of importance for scheduling the emission of greenhouse gases and for carbon mitigation http://www.doczj.com/doc/f11650116edb6f1aff001f22.html ing available data,the changes in SOC density and storage in cultivated soils in several regions in China during the period considered here have already been addressed in previous studies.These estimates include fluvi-aquic soils,Cinnamon soils(eutric cambisols) [Xu et al.,2004;Wang and Qiu,2004],black soils and Chernozems(Chernozems)[Han et al.,2003,2004;Qiu et al.,2003,2004;Wang et al.,2007]in north China,paddy soils[Shen et al.,2003;Li et al.,2006;Zhang et al.,2007]

GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES,VOL.23,GB2021,doi:10.1029/2008GB003428,2009 Click

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1Institute of Geology and Geophysics,Chinese Academy of Sciences,

Beijing,China.

2Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing,China.

3Department of Geology,Baylor University,Waco,Texas,USA.

4Department of Geography,University of Liverpool,Liverpool,UK.

Copyright2009by the American Geophysical Union.

0886-6236/09/2008GB003428$12.00

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