Modeling spatiotemporal dynamics of total and active organic carbon

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a key soil quality parameter influencing a range of physical, chemical, and biological functions of soil (Wiesmeier et al., 2019); therefore, monitoring and maintaining SOC contents are critical for agricultural productivity. Besides, SOC is recognized as being the largest pool of carbon (C) in the terrestrial biosphere and where it plays a vital role in the global C cycle and providing important benefits for climate change mitigation and adaptation (Minasny et al., 2017). Within the SOC pool, active carbon, which can be measured as permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXc), is a sensitive carbon fraction that can be easily oxidized and lost due to changes in agricultural management and land use practices (Culman et al., 2012). The monitoring of active POXc may provide more immediate feedback on the soil’s response to shifts in management practices compared to the larger pool of total SOC. Assessing the dynamics of total and active organic C (thereafter, TOC and POXc) can provide important cues for effective agricultural soil management and enhance agroecosystem resilience against climatic perturbations. Also, combining the evaluation of TOC and POXc is also critical activities in tracking the spatial distribution and changes in overall soil health (Zebarth et al., 2019; Norris et al., 2020).

In this study, we predicted spatiotemporal dynamics (2015/16 - 2019/20) of TOC and POXc at a study site in Nova Scotia, Canada using remote sensing and digital soil mapping techniques. The map shows relative changes in TOC and POXc across the study area.

More details on this work can be found in Paul et al. (2022)