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Modelling the impact of soil redistribution on carbon sequestration in agricultural ecosystems


The influence of soil redistribution within the landscape on the global terrestrial C budget is poorly understood. Recent studies estimate that between 0.6-1.5 Get C year-1 are sequestered due to burial of soil particles in depositional areas. Despite the advances in understanding that have been made, large information gaps concerning rates and locations of terrestrial sedimentation remain. The uncertainties mainly relate to the lack of information about C storage in terrestrial ecosystems and the lack of adequate simulation models that allow the fate of the eroded carbon to be predicted. The main objective of this project is to increase our understanding of carbon dynamics in agricultural ecosystems by developing the necessary modelling tools. This will be achieved by combining current generation soil redistribution models with models of carbon dynamics. The benefits of this approach arise from the use of spatially distributed models of water and tillage soil redistribution that allow simulation of the pathways of eroded carbon within the landscape and in the soil profile. The implementation of the CENTURY carbon model will allow accurate estimation of carbon budgets and assessment of the magnitude of the sink associated with sol· redistribution. The model will be tested and validated by means of detailed data on radionuclides distributions for three agricultural fields in contrasting environments within the European Union. Using complementary data on carbon distributions will carry out additional validation.
The proposed research project fits within the priorities of the 6th Framework Programme of the European Community, more specifically under theme 6.3 - Global change and Ecosystems.
The project proposal addresses the issues of thematic priority 1.1 - Carbon and Nitrogen cycles: sources and sinks - by focussing on human induced disturbances of ecosystems (soil redistribution on agricultural land)

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Northcote House, The Queen's Drive
United Kingdom

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