The importance of inorganic carbon in soil carbon databases and stock estimates: a case study from England

Rawlins, B.G.; Henrys, P.; Breward, N.; Robinson, D.A.; Keith, A.M.; Garcia-Bajo, M.. 2011 The importance of inorganic carbon in soil carbon databases and stock estimates: a case study from England. Soil Use and Management, 27 (3). 312-320.

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Many national and regional databases of soil properties and associated estimates of soil carbon stock consider organic, but not inorganic carbon (IC). Any future change in soil carbon stock resulting from the formation of pedogenic carbonates will be difficult to set in context because historical measurements or estimates of IC concentration and stock may not be available. In their article describing a database of soil carbon for the United Kingdom published in this journal, Bradley et al. [Soil Use and Management (2005) vol. 21, 363–369] only consider data for organic carbon (OC), despite the occurrence of IC-bearing calcareous soils across a substantial part of southern England. Robust techniques are required for establishing IC concentrations and stocks based on available data. We present linear regression models (R2 between 0.8 and 0.88) to estimate IC in topsoil based on total Ca and Al concentrations for soils over two groups of primary, carbonate-bearing parent materials across parts of southern and eastern England. By applying the regression models to geochemical survey data across the entire area (18 165 km2), we estimate IC concentrations on a regular 500-m grid by ordinary kriging. Using bulk density data from across the region, we estimate the total IC stock of soil (0–30 cm depth) in this area to be 186 MtC. This represents 15.5 and 5.5% of the estimated total soil carbon stock (OC plus IC) across England and the UK, respectively, based on the data presented by Bradley et al. [Soil Use and Management (2005) vol. 21, 363–369]. Soil geochemical data could be useful for estimating primary IC stocks in other parts of the world.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Climate Change Science
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health > BGC - 3.3 - Deliver effective advice, models and applied science ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0266-0032
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The definitive version is available at
Additional Keywords: soil organic carbon, carbon stock, linear regression, ordinary kriging
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 30 Aug 2011 11:26 +0 (UTC)

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