Using the DNDC model to compare soil organic carbon dynamics under different crop rotation and fertilizer strategies

Lan Mu, Yinli Liang, Qingwu Xue, Chen Chen, Xingjun Lin


Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays a vital role in determining soil fertility, water holding capacity and susceptibility to land degradation. On the Chinese Loess Plateau, a large amount of crop residues is regularly removed; therefore, this agricultural area mainly depends on fertilizer inputs to maintain crop yields. This paper aims to use a computer simulation model (DeNitrification and DeComposition, or DNDC) to estimate the changes of SOC content and crop yield from 1998 to 2047 under different cropping systems, providing some strategies to maintain the SOC in balance and to increase crop yields. The results demonstrated that: (i) single manure application or combined with nitrogen fertilizer could significantly enhance the SOC content and crop yield on the sloped land, terraced field and flat land; and (ⅱ) in contrast to sloped land and terraced field, the SOC content and crop yield both continuously increased in flat fields, indicating that the flat field in this region is a good soil surface for carbon sequestration. These results emphasize that application of manure combined with nitrogen fertilizer would be a better management practice to achieve a goal of increasing soil carbon sequestration and food security.


Loess Plateau; soil organic carbon; crop yield; fertilization; croplands

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2014121-4895