Erosion of soil organic carbon: implications for carbon sequestration

By: , and 
Edited by: B.J. McPherson and E.T. Sundquist



Agricultural activities have substantially increased rates of soil erosion and deposition, and these processes have a significant impact on carbon (C) mineralization and burial. Here, we present a synthesis of erosion effects on carbon dynamics and discuss the implications of soil erosion for carbon sequestration strategies. We demonstrate that for a range of data-based parameters from the literature, soil erosion results in increased C storage onto land, an effect that is heterogeneous on the landscape and is variable on various timescales. We argue that the magnitude of the erosion term and soil carbon residence time, both strongly influenced by soil management, largely control the strength of the erosion-induced sink. In order to evaluate fully the effects of soil management strategies that promote carbon sequestration, a full carbon account must be made that considers the impact of erosion-enhanced disequilibrium between carbon inputs and decomposition, including effects on net primary productivity and decomposition rates.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Erosion of soil organic carbon: implications for carbon sequestration
DOI 10.1029/2005GM000326
Volume 183
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Description 14 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle
First page 189
Last page 202
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N