, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 109-131

Dynamics of C, N, P and S in grassland soils: a model

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We have developed a model to simulate the dynamics of C, N, P, and S in cultivated and uncultivated grassland soils. The model uses a monthly time step and can simulate the dynamics of soil organic matter over long time periods (100 to 10,000 years). It was used to simulate the impact of cultivation (100 years) on soil organic matter dynamics, nutrient mineralization, and plant production and to simulate soil formation during a 10,000 year run. The model was validated by comparing the simulated impact of cultivation on soil organic matter C, N, P, and S dynamics with observed data from sites in the northern Great Plains. The model correctly predicted that N and P are the primary limiting nutrients for plant production and simulated the response of the system to inorganic N, P, and S fertilizer. Simulation results indicate that controlling the C:P and C:S ratios of soil organic matter fractions as functions of the labile P and S levels respectively, allows the model to correctly simulate the observed changes in C:P and C:S ratios in the soil and to simulate the impact of varying the labile P and S levels on soil P and S net mineralization rates.