27 May 2024
 | 27 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Depth-dependence of soil organic carbon additional storage capacity in different soil types by the 2050 target for carbon neutrality

Clémentine Chirol, Geoffroy Séré, Paul-Olivier Redon, Claire Chenu, and Delphine Derrien

Abstract. Land planning projects aiming to maximise soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks are increasing in number and scope. In response, a rising number of studies assess SOC additional storage capacities over regional to global spatial scales. In order to provide realistic values transferrable beyond the scientific community, SOC storage capacity assessments should consider the timescales over which this capacity might be reached, considering the effects of C inputs, soil type and depth on soil C dynamics.

This research was conducted in a 320 km2 territory in North-eastern France where eight contrasted soil types have been identified, characterized and mapped thanks to a high density of fully-described soil profiles. Continuous profiles of SOC stocks were interpolated for each soil type and land use (cropland, grassland or forest). Depth-dependent estimates of maximum SOC additional storage capacity using the Hassink equation and a data-driven approach were compared. We used a novel method that uses the data-driven approach to constrain C inputs in a simple model of depth-dependent C dynamics to simulate SOC accrual over 25 years, and mapped the SOC stocks, maximum additional storage capacity and stock evolution.

SOC stocks and maximum additional storage capacities are highly heterogenous over the region of study. Median SOC stocks range from 78–333 tC ha-1. Data-driven maximum SOC additional storage capacities vary from 19 tC ha-1 in forested Leptosols to 197 tC ha-1 in grassland Gleysols. Estimations of SOC maximum additional storage capacities based on the Hassink approach led to unrealistic vertical distributions of SOC stock, with particular overestimation in the deeper layers. Crucially, the simulated SOC accrual over 25 years was five times lower than the maximum SOC additional storage capacity (0.57 and 2.5 MgC respectively). Further consideration of depth-dependent SOC dynamics in different soil types is therefore needed to provide targets of SOC storage over timescales relevant to public policies aiming to approach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Clémentine Chirol, Geoffroy Séré, Paul-Olivier Redon, Claire Chenu, and Delphine Derrien

Status: open (until 18 Jul 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1284', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 May 2024 reply
Clémentine Chirol, Geoffroy Séré, Paul-Olivier Redon, Claire Chenu, and Delphine Derrien
Clémentine Chirol, Geoffroy Séré, Paul-Olivier Redon, Claire Chenu, and Delphine Derrien


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Short summary
This work maps both current soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and the SOC that can be realistically added to soils over 25 years under a scenario of management strategies promoting plant productivity. We consider how soil type influences current and maximum SOC stocks regionally. Over 25 years, land use and management have the strongest influence on SOC accrual, but certain soil types have disproportionate SOC stocks at depth that need to be preserved.