Pyrogenic Carbon in Soils: A Literature-Based Inventory and a Global Estimation of Its Content in Soil Organic Carbon and Stocks

Moritz Reisser, Ross S. Purves, Michael W. I. Schmidt, Samuel Abiven
2016 Frontiers in Earth Science  
Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is considere done of the most stable components in soil and can represent more than 30% of total soil organic carbon (SOC). However, few estimates of global PyC stock or distribution exist and thus PyC is not included in any global carbon cycle models, despite its potential major relevance for the soil pool. To obtain a global picture, were viewed the literature for published PyC content in SOC data. We generated the first PyC database including more than 560 measurements
more » ... from 55 studies. Despite limitations due to heterogeneous distribution of the studied locations and gaps in the database, we were able to produce a world wide PyC inventory. We found that global PyC represent on average 13.7% of the SOC and can be even up to 60%, making it one of the largest groups of identifiable compounds in soil, together with polysaccharides. We observed a consistent range of PyC contentin SOC, despite the diverse methods of quantification. We tested the PyC content against different environmental explanatory variables: fire and landuse (fire characteristics,land use,net primary productivity), climate (temperature, precipitation, climatic zones, altitude),and pedogenic properties (clay content, pH, SOC content). Surprisingly, soil properties explain PyCc ontent the most. Soils with clay content higher than 50% contain significantly more PyC (>30% of the SOC) than with clay content lower than 5%(<6% of the SOC). Alkaline soils contain at least 50% more PyC thanacidic soils. Furthermore, climatic conditions, represented by climatic zone or mean temperature or precipitation, correlate significantly with the PyC content. Byc ontrast, fire characteristics could only explain PyC content, if site-specific information was available. Datasets derived from remote sensing did not explain the PyC content. To show the potential of this database, we used it in combination with other global datasets to create a global world wide PyC content and a stock estimation, which resulted in a round 200 PgPyC for the upper most 2m. These modeled estimates indicated a clear mismatch between the location of the current PyC studies and the geographical zones where we expect high PyC stocks. Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is considered one of the most stable components in soil and can represent more than 30% of total soil organic carbon (SOC). However, few estimates of global PyC stock or distribution exist and thus PyC is not included in any global carbon cycle models, despite its potential major relevance for the soil pool. To obtain a global picture, we reviewed the literature for published PyC content in SOC data. We generated the first PyC database including more than 560 measurements from 55 studies. Despite limitations due to heterogeneous distribution of the studied locations and gaps in the database, we were able to produce a worldwide PyC inventory. We found that global PyC represent on average 13.7% of the SOC and can be even up to 60%, making it one of the largest groups of identifiable compounds in soil, together with polysaccharides. We observed a consistent range of PyC content in SOC, despite the diverse methods of quantification. We tested the PyC content against different environmental explanatory variables: fire and land use (fire characteristics, land use, net primary productivity), climate (temperature, precipitation, climatic zones, altitude), and pedogenic properties (clay content, pH, SOC content). Surprisingly, soil properties explain PyC content the most. Soils with clay content higher than 50% contain significantly more PyC (>30% of the SOC) than with clay content lower than 5% (<6% of the SOC). Alkaline soils contain at least 50% more PyC than acidic soils. Furthermore, climatic conditions, represented by climatic zone or mean temperature or precipitation, correlate significantly with the PyC content. By contrast, fire characteristics could only explain PyC content, if site-specific information was available. Datasets derived from remote sensing did not explain the PyC content. To show the potential of this database, we used it in combination with other global datasets to create a global worldwide PyC content and a stock estimation, which resulted in around 200 Pg PyC for the uppermost 2 m. These modeled estimates indicated a clear mismatch between the location of the current PyC studies and the geographical zones where we expect high PyC stocks.
doi:10.3389/feart.2016.00080 fatcat:zhr5hrlwunhrhjm5zejcrmxoim