Modelled soil organic carbon stocks and changes in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India, between 2000 and 2030

T. Bhattacharyya, D.K. Pal, M. Easter, N.H. Batjes, E. Milne, K.S. Gajbhiye, P. Chandran, S.K. Ray, C. Mandal, K. Paustian, S. Williams, K. Killian, K. Coleman, P. Falloon, D. Powlson

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The Global Environment Facility co-financed Soil Organic Carbon (GEFSOC) Project developed a comprehensive modelling system for predicting soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and changes over time. This research is an effort to predict SOC stocks and changes for the Indian, Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP), an area with a predominantly rice (Oryza sativa)–wheat (Triticum aestivum) cropping system, using the GEFSOC Modelling System and to compare output with stocks generated using mapping approaches based on soil survey data. The GEFSOC Modelling System predicts an estimated SOC stock for the IGP, India of 1.27, 1.32 and 1.27 Pg for 1990, 2000 and 2030, respectively, in the top 20 cm of soil. The SOC stock using a mapping approach based on soil survey data was 0.66 and 0.88 Pg for 1980 and 2000, respectively. The SOC stock estimated using the GEFSOC Modelling System is higher than the stock estimated using the mapping approach. This is due to the fact that while the GEFSOC System accounts for variation in crop input data (crop management), the soil mapping approach only considers regional variation in soil texture and wetness. The trend of overall change in the modelled SOC stock estimates shows that the IGP, India may have reached an equilibrium following 30–40 years of the Green Revolution. This can be seen in the SOC stock change rates. Various different estimation methods show SOC stocks of 0.57–1.44 Pg C for the study area. The trend of overall change in C stock assessed from the soil survey data indicates that the soils of the IGP, India may store a projected 1.1 Pg of C in 2030.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-94
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007



  • subtropical soils
  • rice
  • nitrogen
  • cultivation
  • forest
  • world

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