Simulation of soil carbon changes due to land use change in urban areas in China

Cui Hao, Jo Smith, Jiahua Zhang, Weiqing Meng, Hongyuan Li* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Land use change can have a strong impact on soil carbon dynamics and carbon stocks in urban areas. Due to rapid urbanization, large areas of land have been paved, and other areas have undergone rapid land use change. Evaluation of the impact of urbanization on carbon dynamics and carbon stock (30 cm) has become an issue of urgent concern. The soil carbon dynamics, due to rapid land use change in Tianjin Binhai New Area of China, have been simulated in this paper using the RothC model. Because this area is saline, a modified version of RothC that includes a salt rate modifier provided more accurate simulations than the original model. The conversion to urban green land was not accurately simulated by either of the models because of the undefined changes in soil and plant conditions. According to the model, changes of arable to grassland resulted in a decline in soil carbon stocks, and changes of grassland to forest and grassland to arable resulted in increased soil carbon stocks in this area. Across the whole area simulated, the total carbon stocks in 2010 had decreased due to land use change by 6. 5% from the 1979 value. By 2050, a further decrease of 21. 9% is expected according to the 2050 plan for land use and the continuing losses from the soils due to previous land use changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date16 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • land use change
  • RothC
  • soil carbon
  • urban area


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