A simple model for simulating whole-profile carbon storage in temperate agricultural soils
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a significant component of the global carbon (C) cycle. Changes in SOC storage affect atmospheric CO2 concentrations on decadal to centennial timescales. The C-TOOL model was developed to simulate farm- and regional-scale effects of management on medium- to long-term SOC storage in the profile of well-drained agricultural mineral soils. C-TOOL uses three SOC pools for both the topsoil (0–25 cm) and the subsoil (25–100 cm), and applies temperature-dependent first order kinetics to regulate C turnover. C-TOOL also enables the simulation of 14C turnover. The simple model structure facilitates calibration and requires few inputs (mean monthly air temperature, soil clay content, soil C/N ratio and C in organic inputs). The model was parameterised using data from 19 treatments drawn from seven long-term field experiments in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark. It was found that the initial SOC content had to be optimised for each experiment, but also that one set of values for other model parameters could be applied at all sites. With this set of parameters, C-TOOL can be applied more widely to evaluate effects of management options on SOC storage in temperate agricultural soils. C-TOOL simulates observed losses of SOC in soils under intensive agricultural use and the gain in SOC derived from large inputs of animal manure and inclusion of perennial grassland. The model simulates changes in SOC for the entire profile, but lack of data on subsoil SOC storage hampers a proper model evaluation. Experimental verification of management effects on subsoil C storage, subsoil C inputs from roots, and vertical transport of C in the soil profile remains prioritised research areas.
Ecological Modelling, 2014, Vol 292, p. 11-25
Soil carbon Storage; Modelling; C-TOOL; Agriculture; Management; Mineral Soils