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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - PEDOLOGY NOTE

Insights and Approaches for Mapping Soil Organic Carbon as a Dynamic Soil Property


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 5, p. 1685-1689
    Received: Sept 1, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): mstolt@uri.edu
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  1. Mark H. Stolt *a,
  2. Patrick J. Drohanb and
  3. Matthew J. Richardsonc
  1. a Dep. of Natural Resources Science Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Institute in Kingston, no. 112, 1 Greenhouse Road Kingston, RI 02881
    b Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA 16802
    c EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. Warwick, RI


Soil organic C (SOC) content is one of the most dynamic of soil properties. In this study, we examined the effects of land use change on SOC pools for a single soil series and developed a mapping approach to relate SOC dynamics to land use change. Six paired sites, consisting of adjacent agricultural field and forest within a single delineation, were sampled and the SOC pools determined. The average forest SOC pool (157 Mg ha−1) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the field pool (103 Mg ha−1), supporting the importance of land use on SOC pools. We propose the development of a SOC phase based on land use to map such differences. Master O and A horizon data should be used to establish SOC phases. Data can be obtained from existing soil surveys, updates, or C accounting activities. Land use classes can be identified with digital imagery and SOC phases can be assigned to all mapping units. Mapping units sampled for C accounting can be resampled to detect patterns and rates of change. This approach provides a robust data set to effectively map and model SOC pools and change across the landscape.

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