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ECOSSE: Estimating Carbon in Organic Soils - Sequestration and Emissions: Final Report

Smith, Pete; Smith, Jo; Flynn, Helen; Killham, Ken; Rangel-Castro, Ignacio; Foereid, Bente; Aitkenhead, Matt; Chapman, Steve; Towers, Willie; Bell, John; Lumsdon, David; Milne, Ronald; Thomson, Amanda; Simmons, Ivan; Skiba, Ute; Reynolds, Brian; Evans, Christopher; Frogbrook, Zoë; Bradley, Ian; Whitmore, Andy; Falloon, Pete. 2007 ECOSSE: Estimating Carbon in Organic Soils - Sequestration and Emissions: Final Report. Web only, Scottish Executive, 165pp. (CEH Project Number: C02491)

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Abstract/Summary

Background Climate change, caused by greenhouse gas ( GHG) emissions, is one of the most serious threats facing our planet, and is of concern at both UK and devolved administration levels. Accurate predictions for the effects of changes in climate and land use on GHG emissions are vital for informing land use policy. Models which are currently used to predict differences in soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) caused by these changes, have been derived from those based on mineral soils or deep peat. None of these models is entirely satisfactory for describing what happens to organic soils following land-use change. Reports of Scottish GHG emissions have revealed that approximately 15% of Scotland's total emissions come from land use changes on Scotland's high carbon soils; the figure is much lower for Wales. It is therefore important to reduce the major uncertainty in assessing the carbon store and flux from land use change on organic soils, especially those which are too shallow to be deep peats but still contain a large reserve of C. In order to predict the response of organic soils to external change we need to develop a model that reflects more accurately the conditions of these soils. The development of a model for organic soils will help to provide more accurate values of net change to soil C and N in response to changes in land use and climate and may be used to inform reporting to UKGHG inventories. Whilst a few models have been developed to describe deep peat formation and turnover, none have so far been developed suitable for examining the impacts of land-use and climate change on the types of organic soils often subject to land-use change in Scotland and Wales. Organic soils subject to land-use change are often (but not exclusively) characterised by a shallower organic horizon than deep peats (e.g. organo-mineral soils such as peaty podzols and peaty gleys). The main aim of the model developed in this project was to simulate the impacts of land-use and climate change in these types of soils. The model is, a) be driven by commonly available meteorological data and soil descriptions, b) able to simulate and predict C and N turnover in organic soils, c) able to predict the impacts of land-use change and climate change on C and N stores in organic soils in Scotland and Wales. In addition to developing the model, we have undertaken a number of other modelling exercises, literature searches, desk studies, data base exercises, and experimentation to answer a range of other questions associated with the responses of organic soils in Scotland and Wales to climate and land-use change. Aims of the ECOSSE project The aims of the study were: To develop a new model of C and N dynamics that reflects conditions in organic soils in Scotland and Wales and predicts their likely responses to external factors To identify the extent of soils that can be considered organic in Scotland and Wales and provide an estimate of the carbon contained within them To predict the contribution of CO 2, nitrous oxide and methane emissions from organic soils in Scotland and Wales, and provide advice on how changes in land use and climate will affect the C and N balance In order to fulfil these aims, the project was broken down into modules based on these objectives and the report uses that structure. The first aim is covered by module 2, the second aim by module 1, and the third aim by modules 3 to 8. Many of the modules are inter-linked. Objectives of the ECOSSE project The main objectives of the project were to: Describe the distribution of organic soils in Scotland and Wales and provide an estimate of the C contained in them Develop a model to simulate C and N cycling in organic soils and provide predictions as to how they will respond to land-use, management and climate change using elements of existing peat, mineral and forest soil models Provide predictive statements on the effects of land-use and climate change on organic soils and the relationships to GHG emissions, including CO 2, nitrous oxide and methane. Provide predictions on the effects of land use change and climate change on the release of Dissolved Organic Matter from organic soils Provide estimates of C loss from scenarios of accelerated erosion of organic soils Suggest best options for mitigating C and N loss from organic soils Provide guidelines on the likely effects of changing land-use from grazing or semi-natural vegetation to forestry on C and N in organic soils Use the land-use change data derived from the Countryside Surveys of Scotland and Wales to provide predictive estimates for changes to C and N balance in organic soils over time.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG01 Measuring and modelling trace gas, aerosol and carbon > BG01.1 UK nitrogen and sulphur compounds
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG01 Measuring and modelling trace gas, aerosol and carbon > BG01.2 Carbon
CEH Sections: Billett
Emmett
ISBN: 978075591498 2
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Jan 2008 10:51
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2233

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