Comparing estimates of regional carbon sequestration potential using geographical information systems, dynamic soil organic matter models, and simple relationships

P D Falloon, Pete Smith, J Szabo, L Pasztor, Joanne Ursula Smith, K Coleman, S J Marshall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In Europe, carbon sequestration potential has previously been estimated using data from the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems Soil Organic Matter Network (GCTE-SOMNET). Linear relationships between management practices and yearly changes in soil organic carbon were developed and used to estimate changes in the total carbon stock of European soils. To refine these semiquantitative estimates, local soil type, meteorological conditions, and land use must also be taken into account. We have previously used the Rothamsted carbon model (RothC) linked to geographical information systems (GIS) to estimate the potential effects of afforestation on soil carbon stocks in central Hungary. Further developments have involved a combined modeling approach. The approach described here is based on the CENTURY model frame and allows either the RothC or CENTURY SOM decomposition model to be used, thus allowing an equal comparison of the models. The GIS-linked system integrates land-use, soil, and weather data with knowledge of land-use history, net primary production, local agricultural practices, and best estimates of current SOC stock.

This chapter describes how these developments have been used to estimate carbon sequestration at the regional level using a dynamic simulation model linked to spatially explicit data, Results of carbon sequestration potential estimated with this system are compared to those obtained using a simple regression-based approach. The system is demonstrated in use for an area of central Hungary.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgricultural Practices and Policies for Carbon Sequestration in Soil
EditorsJohn M. Kimble, Rattan Lal, Ronald F. Follett
Place of PublicationBoca Raton
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)1-56670-581-9, 978-1566705813
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • climate-change commitments
  • long-term experiments
  • European soils
  • mitigation
  • storage
  • trends
  • world
  • CO2

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