National and sub-national assessments of soil organic carbon stocks and changes: The GEFSOC modelling system

E. Milne, R. Al-Adamat, N.H. Batjes, M. Bernoux, T. Bhattacharyya, C.C. Cerri, C.E.P. Cerri, K. Coleman, M. Easter, P. Falloon, C. Feller, P. Gicheru, P. Kamoni, K. Killian, D.K. Pal, K. Paustian, D. Powlson, Z. Rawajfih, M. Sessay, S. WilliamsS. Wokabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays a vital role in ecosystem function, determining soil fertility, water holding capacity and susceptibility to land degradation. In addition, SOC is related to atmospheric CO2 levels with soils having the potential for C release or sequestration, depending on land use, land management and climate. The United Nations Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, and other United Nations Conventions to Combat Desertification and on Biodiversity all recognize the importance of SOC and point to the need for quantification of SOC stocks and changes. An understanding of SOC stocks and changes at the national and regional scale is necessary to further our understanding of the global C cycle, to assess the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change and to aid policy makers in making land use/management decisions. Several studies have considered SOC stocks at the plot scale, but these are site specific and of limited value in making inferences about larger areas. Some studies have used empirical methods to estimate SOC stocks and changes at the regional scale, but such studies are limited in their ability to project future changes, and most have been carried out using temperate data sets. The computational method outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been used to estimate SOC stock changes at the regional scale in several studies, including a recent study considering five contrasting eco regions. This `one step¿ approach fails to account for the dynamic manner in which SOC changes are likely to occur following changes in land use and land management
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • long-term experiments
  • indo-gangetic plains
  • sequestering carbon
  • subtropical soils
  • simulating trends
  • projected changes
  • regional-scale
  • climate-change
  • sequestration
  • agriculture


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