The Science of the total environment | 27 Feb 2018
S Chen, MP Martin, NPA Saby, C Walter, DA Angers and D Arrouays
Although soils have a high potential to offset CO2emissions through its conversion into soil organic carbon (SOC) with long turnover time, it is widely accepted that there is an upper limit of soil stable C storage, which is referred to SOC saturation. In this study we estimate SOC saturation in French topsoil (0-30cm) and subsoil (30-50cm), using the Hassink equation and calculate the additional SOC sequestration potential (SOCsp) by the difference between SOC saturation and fine fraction C on an unbiased sampling set of sites covering whole mainland France. We then map with fine resolution the geographical distribution of SOCspover the French territory using a regression Kriging approach with environmental covariates. Results show that the controlling factors of SOCspdiffer from topsoil and subsoil. The main controlling factor of SOCsp in topsoils is land use. Nearly half of forest topsoils are over-saturated with a SOCspclose to 0 (mean and standard error at 0.19±0.12) whereas cropland, vineyard and orchard soils are largely unsaturated with degrees of C saturation deficit at 36.45±0.68% and 57.10±1.64%, respectively. The determinant of C sequestration potential in subsoils is related to parent material. There is a large additional SOCspin subsoil for all land uses with degrees of C saturation deficit between 48.52±4.83% and 68.68±0.42%. Overall the SOCsp for French soils appears to be very large (1008Mt C for topsoil and 1360Mt C for subsoil) when compared to previous total SOC stocks estimates of about 3.5Gt in French topsoil. Our results also show that overall, 176Mt C exceed C saturation in French topsoil and might thus be very sensitive to land use change.
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