• Black carbon content;
  • residual maximum likelihood;
  • crop-residue burning management;
  • French soil monitoring network RMQS;
  • spatial analysis;
  • France


Black Carbon (BC) is an important carbon pool due to its relative stability in soil. Thus, it is essential to determine the amount of BC in soil to have a better understanding of the global carbon cycle. The spatial distribution of BC was determined in the central region of France in relation to the main controlling factors. BC was measured for topsoil at 158 sites in the French soil monitoring network on a regular 16 × 16-km grid. A linear mixed model (LMM) which included fixed effects (linear relationships between BC content and covariates) and spatially correlated random effects was used for mapping BC to aid explanation. Covariates were selected from a set of factors linked to the BC cycle using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The results show high variability in BC content with a minimum of 0.9%, a maximum of 32% and an average of 5.3% for total organic carbon. The fine-earth fraction and clay content gave the best statistical explanation for the spatial distribution of BC. Data on these covariates were not available in total for the whole study area, and therefore we reselected covariates using the fine-earth amount and density of fires from burning crop residues.