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Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 873–888 | Cite as

A novel soil organic C model using climate, soil type and management data at the national scale in France

  • Jeroen MeersmansEmail author
  • Manuel Pascal Martin
  • Fjo De Ridder
  • Eva Lacarce
  • Johanna Wetterlind
  • Sarah De Baets
  • Christine Le Bas
  • Benjamin P. Louis
  • Thomas G. Orton
  • Antonio Bispo
  • Dominique Arrouays
Research Article

Abstract

This report evidences factors controlling soil organic carbon at the national scale by modelling data of 2,158 soil samples from France. The global soil carbon amount, of about 1,500 Gt C, is approximately twice the amount of atmosphere C. Therefore, soil has major impact on atmospheric CO2, and, in turn, climate change. Soil organic carbon further controls many soil properties such as fertility, water retention and aggregate stability. Nonetheless, precise mechanisms ruling interactions between soil organic carbon and environmental factors are not well known at the large scale. Indeed, most soil investigations have been conducted at the plot scale using a limited number of factors. Therefore, a national soil survey of 2,158 soil samples from France was carried out to measure soil properties such as texture, organic carbon, nitrogen and heavy metal content. Here, we studied factors controlling soil organic carbon at the national scale using a model based on stepwise linear regression. Factors analysed were land use, soil texture, rock fragment content, climate and land management. We used several criteria for model selection, such as the Akaike information criterion (AIC), the corrected AIC rule and the Bayesian information criterion. Results show that organic carbon concentrations in fine earth increase with increasing rock fragment content, depending on land use and texture. Spreading farmyard manure and slurry induces higher carbon concentrations mostly in wet and stony grasslands. Nonetheless, a negative correlation has been found between carbon and direct C input from animal excrements on grasslands. Our findings will therefore help to define better land management practices to sequester soil carbon.

Keywords

Land use Manure SOC Rock fragment content Climate Soil texture AIC AICc BIC Stepwise regression 

Abbreviation list

AIC

Akaike information criterion

AICc

Corrected Akaike information criterion

BIC

Bayesian information criterion

dg

Geometric mean particle size

Gt

Giga tonne

man

Slurry and farmyard related C production

man_df

Direct on field C input from animal excrements

pet

Potential evapotranspiration

prec

Precipitation

RMSE

Root mean square error

RMQS

French National Soil Survey (Réseau de Mesures de la Qualité des Sols)

RPD

Ratio of performance to deviation

R²adj

Adjusted coefficient of determination

temp

Temperature

Notes

Acknowledgments

The RMQS was financed by the “Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique Sol”. Jeroen Meersmans post-doctoral position was funded by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). We thank all the people involved in sampling and sample preparation and analysis.

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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag, France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeroen Meersmans
    • 1
    Email author
  • Manuel Pascal Martin
    • 1
  • Fjo De Ridder
    • 2
  • Eva Lacarce
    • 1
  • Johanna Wetterlind
    • 1
  • Sarah De Baets
    • 3
  • Christine Le Bas
    • 1
  • Benjamin P. Louis
    • 1
  • Thomas G. Orton
    • 1
  • Antonio Bispo
    • 4
  • Dominique Arrouays
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA Orléans, InfoSol UnitOrléans, Cedex 2France
  2. 2.Earth System Science and Department of GeographyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM)Université catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Agriculture and Forestry DepartmentADEMEAngers, Cedex 01France

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