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Keywords:

  • agricultural soil;
  • mitigation;
  • Rothamsted carbon model;
  • soil carbon

Abstract

We estimated the carbon (C) sequestration potential of organic matter application in Japanese arable soils at a country scale by applying the Rothamsted carbon (RothC) model at a 1-km resolution. After establishing the baseline soil organic carbon (SOC) content for 1990, a 25-year simulation was run for four management scenarios: A (minimum organic matter application), B (farmyard manure application), C (double cropping for paddy fields) and D (both B and C). The total SOC decreased during the simulation in all four scenarios because the C input in all four scenarios was lower than that required to maintain the baseline 1990 SOC level. Scenario A resulted in the greatest depletion, reflecting the effects of increased organic matter application in the other scenarios. The 25-year difference in SOC accumulation between scenario A and scenarios B, C and D was 32.3, 11.1 and 43.4 Mt C, respectively. The annual SOC accumulation per unit area was similar to a previous estimate, and the 25-year averages were 0.30, 0.10 and 0.41 t C ha−1 year−1 for scenarios B, C and D, respectively. The system we developed in the present study, that is, linking the RothC model and soil spatial data, can be useful for estimating the potential C sequestration resulting from an increase in organic matter input to Japanese arable soils, although more feasible scenarios need to be developed to enable more realistic estimation.