Will European soil-monitoring networks be able to detect changes in topsoil organic carbon content?
Article first published online: 27 MAY 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Global Change Biology
Volume 14, Issue 10, pages 2432–2442, October 2008
How to Cite
SABY, N. P. A., BELLAMY, P. H., MORVAN, X., ARROUAYS, D., JONES, R. J. A., VERHEIJEN, F. G. A., KIBBLEWHITE, M. G., VERDOODT, A., ÜVEGES, J. B., FREUDENSCHUß, A. and SIMOTA, C. (2008), Will European soil-monitoring networks be able to detect changes in topsoil organic carbon content?. Global Change Biology, 14: 2432–2442. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01658.x
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 27 MAY 2008
- Received 28 June 2007; revised version received 21 January 2008 and accepted 19 March 2008
- detection of change;
- Kyoto protocol;
- organic carbon;
Within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, articles 3.3 and 3.4 stipulate that some voluntary activities leading to an additional carbon (C) sequestration in soils could be accounted as C sinks in national greenhouse gas inventories. These additional C stocks should be verifiable. In this work, we assess the feasibility of verifying the effects of changes in land use or management practice on soil organic carbon (SOC), by comparing minimum detectable changes in SOC concentration for existing European networks suitable for soil monitoring. Among the tested scenarios, the minimum detectable changes differed considerably among the soil-monitoring networks (SMNs). Considerable effort would be necessary for some member states to reach acceptable levels of minimum detectable change for C sequestration accounting. For SOC, a time interval of about 10 years would enable the detection of some simulated large changes in most European countries. In almost all cases, the minimum detectable change in SOC stocks remains greater than annual greenhouse gases emissions. Therefore, it is unlikely that SMNs could be used for annual national C accounting. However, the importance of organic C in soil functions, and as an indicator of soil condition and trends, underlines the importance of establishing effective national SMNs.