Carbon stocks and CO2 emissions of urban and natural soils in Central Chernozemic region of Russia

D.A. Sarzhanov, V.I. Vasenev*, I.I. Vasenev, Y.L. Sotnikova, O.V. Ryzhkov, T. Morin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


C-sequestration, as a function of soils, is known to help mitigate climate change. However, the potential of urban soils to be C-sinks or sources, is widely unknown. This study aims to understand the role and significance of urban soils in the C-balance of the region. It reveals several important findings about the C-balance capacities of urban soils and the multiple factors affecting this balance. This two-year study focused on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and CO2 emissions of urban soils in the city of Kursk, located in the Central Chernozemic region of Russia, an area known to have some of the most fertile soils in the world. SOС stocks and emissions were studied in residential, recreational, and industrial functional zones and in comparison to corresponding natural reference soils to analyze the influence of urbanization on C turnover Urban soils were found to store 20 to 50 kg С m− 2 in 1.5 m layer; 10–30% less than in corresponding natural Luvic Chernozems and Chernic Phaeozems, but greater than what has been reported for many other cities. The urban soils with developed cultural layers stored more C in subsoil compared to the natural soils. Emissions of CO2 in urban soils, however, were higher than from Chernic Phaeozems but comparable to those from Luvic Chernozems. The CO2/SOC stocks ratio in urban soils was two–three times higher than in natural soils. These outcomes point to the intensive C turnover and low sustainability of SOC stocks in urban soils. This study found evidence that the recent urbanization of the Chernozemic region has adversely affected the C balance. Natural soils in the region are important C sinks, however they can convert to C sources in result of urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • C balance
  • Chernozems
  • Functional zones
  • Soil respiration
  • Spatial-temporal variability
  • Urbanization

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