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

  • Lan Mu Institute of Soil and Water Conservation. Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources. Yangling, Shaanxi 712100
  • Yinli Liang Institute of Soil and Water Conservation. Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources. Yangling, Shaanxi 712100. Northwest A & F University/Institute of Soil and Water Conservation. Yangling, Shaanxi 712100
  • Qingwu Xue Texas AgriLife Research-Amarillo. 6500 Amarillo Blvd W. Amarillo, TX 79106
  • Chen Chen Northwest A & F University/Institute of Soil and Water Conservation. Yangling, Shaanxi 712100
  • Xingjun Lin Institute of Soil and Water Conservation. Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources. Yangling, Shaanxi 712100
Keywords: Loess Plateau, soil organic carbon, crop yield, fertilization, croplands


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.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Qingwu Xue, Texas AgriLife Research-Amarillo. 6500 Amarillo Blvd W. Amarillo, TX 79106
Texas AgriLife Research-Amarillo


Chen C, Gong J, Fu BJ, Huang ZL, Huang YL, Gui LD, 2007. Effect of land use conversion on soil organic carbon sequestration in the loess hilly area, loess plateau of China. Ecol Res 22: 641-648.

Chen C, Liang YL, Wu RJ, Peng Q, Jia WY, Huang ML, 2010. A preliminary study on the change of soil organic carbon and carbon cycling of Loess Hilly Region sloped land. J Nat Res 25: 668-676. [In Chinese, with English Abstract].

Entry JA, Sojka RE, Shewmaker GE, 2002. Management of irrigated agriculture to increase organic carbon storage in soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66: 1957-1964.

Fang JY, Piao SL, Zhao SQ, 2001. CO2 missing carbon sink and carbon pool in the land ecosystem with medium latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. J Plant Ecol 25: 594–602 [in Chinese, with English abstract].

Fließbach A, Oberholzer HR, Gunst L, Mader P, 2006. Soil organic matter and biological soil quality indicators after 21 years of organic and conventional farming. Agr Ecosyst Environ 118: 273-284.

Fontaine S, Mariotti A, Abbadie L, 2003. The priming effect of organic matter: a question of microbial competition. Soil Biol Biochem 35: 837-843.

Fortuna AR, Harwood K, Kizilkaya, Paul EA, 2003. Optimizing nutrient availability and potential carbon sequestration in an agroecosystem. Soil Biol Biochem 35: 1005-1023.

Han FP, Hu W, Zheng JY, Du F, Zhang XC, 2010. Estimating soil organic carbon storage and distribution in a catchment of Losee Plateau, China. Geoderma 154: 261-266.

Han SJ, Dong YS, Cai ZC, Song CC, 2008. Chinese terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle and biogeochemical processes. Science Press, Beijing, pp: 258-320. [In Chinese, with English abstract].

Hao XY, Gao W, Wang YY, Jin JY, 2012. Effects of combined application of organic manure and chemical fertilizers on ammonia volatilization from greenhouse vegetable soil. China Agr Sci 45: 4403-4414.

Hendry GR, Kimball BA, 1994. The FACE program. Agric. Forest Meteorol 70: 3-14.

IPCC, 2007. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report: 12.

ISS, 1978. Physical and chemical analysis methods of soils. Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai Sci Technol Press, Shanghai, pp: 7-59.

Kuzyakov Y, Friedel JK, Stahr K, 2000. Review of mechanisms and quantification of priming effects. Soil Biol Biochem 32: 1485-1489.

Li CS, Frolking S, Frolking TA, 1992a. A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events I. Model structure and sensitivity. Geophys Res 97: 9759-9776.

Li CS, Mosier A, Wassmann R, Cai Z, Zheng X, Huang Y, 2004. Modeling greenhouse gas emissions from rice-based production systems: sensitivity and upscaling. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 18: 1-19.

Li CS, Zhuang YH, Frolking S, 2003. Modeling soil organic carbon change in croplands of China. Ecol Appl 13: 327-336.[0327:MSOCCI]2.0.CO;2

Liang YL, Chen C, Xue QW, Lin XJ, Peng Q, 2011. Long term soil organic carbon and crop yield dynamics on cropland in hilly and gully areas of Loess Plateau. J Agron 10: 40-47.

Liu ZP, Shao MA, Wang YQ, 2011. Effect of environmental factors on regional soil organic carbon stocks across the Loess Plateau region, China. Agr Ecosyst Environ 142: 184-194.

Manna MC, Swarup A, Wanjari RH, Ravankar HN, Mishra B, 2005. Long-term effect of fertilizer and manure application on soil organic carbon storage, soil quality and yield sustainability under sub-humid and semi-arid tropical India. Field Crops Res 93: 264–280.

McNab WH, 1993. A topographic index to quantify the effect of mesoscale landform on site productivity. Can J For Res 23: 110-117.

Moshki A, Lamersdorf NP, 2011. Growth and nutrient status of introduced black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) afforestation in arid and semi arid areas of Iran. Res J Environ Sci 5: 259-268.

Nardi S, Morari F, Berti A, Tosoni M, Giardini L, 2004. Soil organic matter properties after 40 years of different use of organic and mineral fertilizer. Eur J Agron 21: 357-367.

Nelson DW, Sommers LE, 1982. Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter. In: Methods of soil analysis, Part 2. (Page AL et al., eds), 2nd ed. Agron Monogr ASA SSSA, Madison, WI, USA, pp: 102-129.

Pan GX, Li LQ, Wu LS, Zhang XH, 2003. Storage and sequestration potential of topsoil organic carbon in China's paddy soils. Glob Change Biol 10: 79–92.

Paustian K, Cole CV, Sauerbeck D, Sampson N, 1998. CO2 mitigation by agriculture: an overview. Clim Change 40: 135-162.

Qiu JJ, Wang LG, Tang HJ, Li H, Li CS, 2005. Studies on the situation of soil organic carbon storage in croplands in northeast of China. Agric Sci China 4: 594–600. [In Chinese, with English abstract].

Ratnayake RR, Seneviratne G, Kulasooriya SA, 2011. The effect of cultivation on organic carbon content in the clay mineral fraction of soils. Int J Soil Sci 6: 217-223.

San Jose JJ, Montes RA, 2001. Management effects on carbon stocks and fluxes across the Orinoco savannas. For Ecol Manage 150: 293–311.

Shi H, Shao MA, 2000. Soil and water loss from the Loess Plateau in China. J Arid Environ 45: 9-20.

Shi XZ, Yang RW, Weindorf DC, Wang HJ, 2010. Simulation of organic carbon dynamics at regional scale for paddy soils in China. Climatic Change 102: 579–593.

Smith P, 2004. Carbon sequestration in croplands: The potential in Europe and the global context. Eur J Agron 20: 229-236.

Smith P, Powlson DS, Smith JU, Elliot ET, 1997. A comparision of the performance of nine soil organic matter models using datasets from seven long-term experiments. Geoderma 81: 153-225.

Smith WN, Grant BB, Desjardins RL, Worth D, Li CS, Boles SH, Huffman EC, 2010. A tool to link agricultural activity data with the DNDC model to estimate GHG emission factors in Canada. Agr Ecosyst Environ 136: 301–309.

Tan Z, Lal R, Liu S, 2006. Using experimental and geospatial data to estimate regional carbon sequestration potential under no-till management. Soil Sci 171: 950-959.

Tang HJ, Qiu JJ, Eric VR, Li CS, 2006. Estimations of soil organic carbon storage in cropland of China based on DNDC model. Geoderma 134: 200–206.

Tang HJ, Qiu JJ, Wang LG, Li CS, Van Ranst E, 2010. Modeling soil organic carbon storage and its dynamics in croplands of China. Agr Sci China 9: 704-712.

Wan YF, Lin Erda, Xiong W, Li YE, Guo LP, 2011. Modeling the impact of climate change on soil organic carbon stock in upland soils in the 21st century in China. Agr Ecosyst Environ 141: 23-31.

Wu LZ, Cai ZC, 2007. Estimation of the change of topsoil organic carbon of croplands in China based on long-term experimental data. Ecol Environ 16: 1768-1774. [in Chinese, with English abstract].

Zhang F, Li CS, Wang Z, Wu H, 2006. Modeling impacts of management alternatives on soil carbon storage of farmland in Northwest China. Biogeosci 3: 451-466.

Zhang LM, Yu DS, Shi XZ, Xu SX, Wang SH, Xing SH, Zhao YC, 2012. Simulation soil organic carbon change in China’s Tai-Lake paddy soils. Soil Till Res 121: 1-9.

How to Cite
MuL., LiangY., XueQ., ChenC., & LinX. (2014). Using the DNDC model to compare soil organic carbon dynamics under different crop rotation and fertilizer strategies. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 12(1), 265-276.
Soil science