Patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) vary across the landscape leading to uncertainties in SOC budgets, especially for agricultural areas where water, wind, and tillage erosion redistribute soil and SOC. This study determined SOC patterns related to soil redistribution in small agricultural fields. Soil redistribution patterns were determined using the fallout caesium-137 technique in agricultural fields in Maryland and Iowa, USA. In two Iowa fields, SOC ranged from 0.5 to 5% whereas in the Maryland field the SOC ranged from 0.4 to 2.9%. Soil organic carbon was statistically significantly correlated with soil 137Cs inventories and soil erosion/deposition rates. Sites of soil erosion in Iowa and Maryland had significantly lower average concentrations of SOC (2.4% and 1.3%, respectively) than sites of soil deposition (3.4% and 1.6%, respectively). These studies show the impact of soil redistribution patterns, within a field or catchment, and aid in understanding SOC patterns and budgets.
Additional publication details
Using soil redistribution to understand soil organic carbon redistribution and budgets