Soil scientists determine how abandoned arable land recovers

phys.org | 10/1/2019 | Staff
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Soil scientists from RUDN University have found that the rate of accumulation of organic carbon in wild, cultivated, and abandoned soils depends mainly on the type and composition of the soil, and, to a lesser extent, on the time elapsed since it was no longer cultivated. This data will help more accurately calculate soil fertility and the total amount of carbon on the planet, as well as predict climate change. The results are published in the journal Geoderma.

Carbon on Earth is contained not only in the form of carbon dioxide CO2, but also as various organic compounds: in animals, plants, and soil. The carbon content in soil depends on many factors: soil type, climate, species composition of bacteria, and types of carbon compounds.

Hectares - Land - Worldwide - United - Nations

There are 220 hectares of abandoned arable land worldwide, according to the United Nations Food Program (FAO), a quarter of which is in Russia. It is of utmost importance to understand how agricultural and post-agricultural lands accumulate and release carbon, in order to build a comprehensive and accurate picture of its natural cycle. Long periods of land cultivation are known to reduce the amount of carbon in the soil. If plowing stops, the vegetation cover grows back, followed by the level of soil carbon. So, it is important to understand how exactly it occurs in each of more than 30 soil types under different geographical and climatic conditions.

The head of the Center for Mathematical Modeling and Design of Sustainable Ecosystems at RUDN University, Yakov Kuzyakov, and his colleagues found out exactly how the cessation of agricultural activities on certain cropland affects the processes of accumulation and decomposition of carbon in the soil.

Object - Study - Types - Soil - Dark

The object of study was two types of soil. The first was phaeozem: dark soil, rich in humus and calcium, similar to chernozem, but characteristic of areas...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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