Insights and approaches for mapping soil organic carbon as a dynamic soil property

Mark H. Stolt, Patrick J. Drohan, Matthew J. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Soil organic C (SOC) content is one of the most dynamic of soil properties. In this study, we examined the effects of land use change on SOC pools for a single soil series and developed a mapping approach to relate SOC dynamics to land use change. Six paired sites, consisting of adjacent agricultural field and forest within a single delineation, were sampled and the SOC pools determined. The average forest SOC pool (157 Mg ha-1) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the field pool (103 Mg ha-1), supporting the importance of land use on SOC pools. We propose the development of a SOC phase based on land use to map such differences. Master O and A horizon data should be used to establish SOC phases. Data can be obtained from existing soil surveys, updates, or C accounting activities. Land use classes can be identified with digital imagery and SOC phases can be assigned to all mapping units. Mapping units sampled for C accounting can be resampled to detect patterns and rates of change. This approach provides a robust data set to effectively map and model SOC pools and change across the landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1685-1689
Number of pages5
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science


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