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Agro-ecosystems play an important role in regulating global changes caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Restoration of soil organic carbon (SOC) in agricultural soils can not only improve soil quality but also influence climate change and agronomic productivity. With about half of its land area under agricultural use, China exhibits vast potential for carbon (C) sequestration that needs to be researched. Chinese cropland has experienced SOC change over the past century. The study of SOC dynamics under different bioclimatic conditions and cropping systems can help us to better understand this historical change, current status, the impacts of bioclimatic conditions on SOC and future trends. We used a simulation based on historical statistical data to analyze the C balance of Chinese croplands during the 1980s and 1990s, taking into account soil, climate and agricultural management. Nationwide, 77.6% of the national arable land is considered to be in good condition. Appropriate farm management practices should be adopted to improve the poor C balance of the remaining 22.4% of cropland to promote C sequestration.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
F. Zhang, Z. Wang, S. Glidden, Y. P. Wu, L. Tang, Q. Y. Liu, C. S. Li & S. Frolking. Changes in the soil organic carbon balance on China’s cropland during the last two decades of the 20th century, Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 7144 (2017).