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Sci Rep. 2014 Feb 11;4:4062. doi: 10.1038/srep04062.

Global pattern of soil carbon losses due to the conversion of forests to agricultural land.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming in the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100 China.
  • 2College of Agronomy, Shihezi University, Shihezi, 832003 China.
  • 3Beijing Museum of Natural History, Beijing 100050, China.

Abstract

Several reviews have analyzed the factors that affect the change in soil organic C (SOC) when forest is converted to agricultural land; however, the effects of forest type and cultivation stage on these changes have generally been overlooked. We collated observations from 453 paired or chronosequential sites where forests have been converted to agricultural land and then assessed the effects of forest type, cultivation stage, climate factors, and soil properties on the change in the SOC stock and the SOC turnover rate constant (k). The percent decrease in SOC stocks and the turnover rate constants both varied significantly according to forest type and cultivation stage. The largest decrease in SOC stocks was observed in temperate regions (52% decrease), followed by tropical regions (41% decrease) and boreal regions (31% decrease). Climate and soil factors affected the decrease in SOC stocks. The SOC turnover rate constant after the conversion of forests to agricultural land increased with the mean annual precipitation and temperature. To our knowledge, this is the first time that original forest type was considered when evaluating changes in SOC after being converted to agricultural land. The differences between forest types should be considered when calculating global changes in SOC stocks.

PMID:
24513580
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3920271
Free PMC Article
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