Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Original research article
19 Jul 2021
Original research article |  | 19 Jul 2021

Nonlinear turnover rates of soil carbon following cultivation of native grasslands and subsequent afforestation of croplands

Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez, Thomas J. Sauer, Yury G. Chendev, and Alexander N. Gennadiev

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Cited articles

Amadi, C. C., Van Rees, K. C. J., and Farrell, R. E.: Greenhouse gas mitigation potential of shelterbelts: Estimating farm-scale emission reductions using the Holos model, Can. J. Soil Sci., 97, 353–367,, 2016 
Arrouays, D., Balesdent, J., Mariotti, A., and Girardin, C.: Modelling organic carbon turnover in cleared temperate forest soils converted to maize cropping by using 13C natural abundance measurements, Plant Soil, 173, 191–196,, 1995. 
Chendev, Y. G., Burras, C. L., and Sauer, T. J.: Transformation of forest soils in Iowa (United States) under the impact of long-term agricultural development, Eurasian Soil Sci., 45, 357–367,, 2012. 
Chendev, Y. G., Novykh, L. L., Sauer, T. J., Petin, A. N., Zazdravnykh, E. A., and Burras, C. L.: Evolution of soil carbon storage and morphometric properties of afforested soils in the US Great Plains, Soil Carbon, 47, 475–482,, 2014. 
Chendev, Y. G., Sauer, T. J., Gennadiev, A. N., Novykh, L. L., Petin, A. N., and Petina, V. I.: Accumulation of organic carbon in chernozems (Mollisols) under shelterbelts in Russia and the United States, Eurasian Soil Sci., 48, 43–53, 2015a. 
Short summary
We evaluated how sequestration of soil carbon changes over the long term after converting native grasslands into croplands and also from annual cropping into trees. Soil carbon was reduced by cropping but increased with tree planting. This decrease in carbon storage with annual cropping happened over centuries, while trees increase soil carbon over just a few decades. Growing trees in long-term croplands emerged as a climate-change-mitigating action, effective even within a person’s lifetime.