Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
SOIL, 3, 61–66, 2017
SOIL, 3, 61–66, 2017

Short communication 13 Mar 2017

Short communication | 13 Mar 2017

Soil organic carbon stocks are systematically overestimated by misuse of the parameters bulk density and rock fragment content

Christopher Poeplau et al.

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Cited articles

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Beem-Miller, J. P., Kong, A. Y. Y., Ogle, S., and Wolfe, D.: Sampling for Soil Carbon Stock Assessment in Rocky Agricultural Soils, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 80, 1411–1423, 2016.
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Corti, G., Ugolini, F. C., and Agnelli, A.: Classing the Soil Skeleton (Greater than Two Millimeters): Proposed Approach and Procedure, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 62, 1620–1629, 1998.
Short summary
This paper shows that three out of four frequently used methods to calculate soil organic carbon stocks lead to systematic overestimation of those stocks. Stones, which can be assumed to be free of carbon, have to be corrected for in both bulk density and layer thickness. We used data of the German Agricultural Soil Inventory to illustrate the potential bias and suggest a unified and unbiased calculation method for stocks of soil organic carbon, which is the largest terrestrial carbon pool.