Spatial changes and driving variables of topsoil organic carbon stocks in Chinese croplands under different fertilization strategies

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Ren, F., Misselbrook, T. H., Sun, N., Zhang, X., Zhang, S., Jiao, J., Xu, M. and Wu, L. 2021. Spatial changes and driving variables of topsoil organic carbon stocks in Chinese croplands under different fertilization strategies. Science of the Total Environment. 767 (article), p. 144350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144350

AuthorsRen, F., Misselbrook, T. H., Sun, N., Zhang, X., Zhang, S., Jiao, J., Xu, M. and Wu, L.
Abstract

The effect of different fertilization strategies on changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) largely depends on the current status of a given agricultural region. We analysed the results of 90 long-term field trials (20–37 years) in Chinese croplands to determine the effects of fertilization strategies [i.e., no fertilizer (CK), chemical fertilizer (NPK), manure only (M) and manure plus chemical fertilizers (NPKM)] on soil organic carbon stock (SOCs) at 0–20 cm depth in the North (NC), Northeast (NEC), Northwest (NWC) and South (SC) China. Compared with initial values, SOCs increased by 24–68% and 24–74% under NPKM and M applications, respectively, over the experimental periods. Furthermore, final SOCs under NPKM in NEC and NWC were significantly higher than those under other treatments, but there was no significant difference between NPKM and M in SC and no significant differences among fertilizer treatments in NC. Average SOC stock change rates (SOCr) were positive under all treatments for all regions except for CK and NPK in NEC, which were negative. There were regional differences in treatment effects: all treatments showed significantly different rates in NC and NWC, whereas there were no significant differences between the M and NPKM in NEC and SC. Random forest (RF) modeling showed that among the selected variables initial SOCs was the most important in accounting for differences in SOCr, followed by soil bulk density, mean annual temperature and precipitation for all treatments. Soil total nitrogen content was also an important explanatory variable for SOCr for CK and NPK, and soil pH for M. This study has highlighted the main driving variables of SOC change which can be of use in optimizing fertilization strategies, by taking account of the baseline SOCs status and environmental factors for different regions, to minimize soil carbon emissions while maximizing carbon sequestration in soils.

KeywordsSoil organic carbon; Topsoil; Chinese croplands ; Long-term fertilization; Region
Year of Publication2021
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Journal citation767 (article), p. 144350
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144350
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderNational Key Research and Development Program of China
National Natural Science Foundation of China
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or code41620104006
2017YFC0503805
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online29 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Dec 2020
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
ISSN0048-9697

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