Open Access Research

Dynamics of carbon pools in post-agrogenic sandy soils of southern taiga of Russia

Olga Kalinina1*, Sergey V Goryachkin1, Nina A Karavaeva2, Dmitriy I Lyuri2 and Luise Giani1

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. Soil Sci. C-v-O. University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany

2 Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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Carbon Balance and Management 2010, 5:1  doi:10.1186/1750-0680-5-1

Published: 26 April 2010

Abstract

Background

Until recently, a lot of arable lands were abandoned in many countries of the world and, especially, in Russia, where about half a million square kilometers of arable lands were abandoned in 1961-2007. The soils at these fallows undergo a process of natural restoration (or self-restoration) that changes the balance of soil organic matter (SOM) supply and mineralization.

Results

A soil chronosequence study, covering the ecosystems of 3, 20, 55, 100, and 170 years of self-restoration in southern taiga zone, shows that soil organic content of mineral horizons remains relatively stable during the self-restoration. This does not imply, however, that SOM pools remain steady. The C/N ratio of active SOM reached steady state after 55 years, and increased doubly (from 12.5 - 15.6 to 32.2-33.8). As to the C/N ratio of passive SOM, it has been continuously increasing (from 11.8-12.7 to 19.0-22.8) over the 170 years, and did not reach a steady condition.

Conclusion

The results of the study imply that soil recovery at the abandoned arable sandy lands of taiga is incredibly slow process. Not only soil morphological features of a former ploughing remained detectable but also the balance of soil organic matter input and mineralization remained unsteady after 170 years of self-restoration.