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National soil organic carbon estimates can improve global estimates


Vitharana, U. W. A.; Mishra, Umakant; Mapa, Ranjith


Global inventories of spatial and vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks are being used in national and global initiatives targeted to mitigate climate change and land degradation impacts. Yet, national level high-resolution estimates of SOC stocks can be useful for improving the accuracy of global SOC inventories. We estimated spatially resolved SOC stocks of surface 030 cm and subsurface 30100 cm layers at a spatial resolution of 30m in tropical Island, Sri Lanka using a legacy harmonized soil database of 122 soil profiles. The national estimates were compared with two global estimates derived from WISE30sec and SoilGrids250m. The tropical Island (land area=64,610 km2) occupying 0.03% of global land area showed a considerable heterogeneity in SOC stocks ranging from 2.0342.5 Mg ha−1 and 2.7391.7 Mg ha−1 in the surface and subsurface soil layers, respectively. We found, elevation, precipitation and slope angle as main environmental controllers of the spatial distribution of SOC stocks under tropical climate. Incorporating the pedogenic information (derived from soil series level legacy map, soil orders and suborders) with environmental controllers resulted in better regression models of predicting surface (R2=0.61) and subsurface (R2=0.81) SOC stocks. Geographically weighted regression kriging derived maps of SOC stocks revealed that 0100 cm soil layer of the tropical Island stored 500 Tg C contributing for 0.04% of the global SOC stocks. The validation results of our estimates showed low Mean Estimation Error (MEE: surface −1.6 and subsurface −1.6 Mg ha−1) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE: surface 29.5 and subsurface 24.9 Mg ha−1) indicating a low bias and satisfactory predictions. The relative improvement of the prediction accuracy of the SOC stocks of our geospatial estimates in the 030 cm layer in comparison to SoilGrids250m and WISE30sec data derived SOC stocks were 51.7% and 35.2%, respectively. The SOC stocks predictions of the 30100 cm soil layer showed even better relative improvement compared to SoilGrids250m (78.4%) and WISE30sec (57.4%) SOC estimates. Compared to estimates of total SOC stocks resulted in this study, WISE30sec data derived SOC stock maps showed 30% over estimation of the C stock in surface 030 cm (332 Tg C) and 41% overestimation in 30100 cm layer (343 Tg C). The over estimation of total SOC stocks by the SoilGrids250 SOC stocks map for the surface 030 cm layer was 122% (567 Tg C) and for the 30100 cm layer it was 209% (750 Tg C). We conclude that the fusion of legacy soil information of SOC stocks with appropriate environmental covariates and pedogenic information derived from legacy area-class soil maps at national level can produce more accurate inventories of spatial and vertical distribution of SOC stocks. These national inventories have a great potential of upgrading global inventories of SOC stocks.



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