Saturday, 15 July 2006

Soil Sampling to Certify the Changes of Organic Carbon in Mineral Soils.

Vladimir Stolbovoy, Luca Montanarella, Nicola Filippi, Senthil-Kumar Selvaradjou, and Javier Gallego. European Commission Joint Research Centre Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via Fermi, Ispra, Italy

Soil carbon content is the key factor that drives various soil functions like soil fertility, buffering capacity, adsorption and absorption of chemicals, filtering to maintain water quality, regulation of atmospheric gas composition, etc. Any decline in CC, leading to subsequent deterioration of soil quality has been identified to be a serious environmental threat by European Environment Agency (Huber et al., 2001) and the Soil Communication (EC, 2002). In addition, in the major global environmental conventions like climate change (UNFCC), biodiversity (CBD) and desertification (UNCCD), CC in soils is a crucial factor that has to be assessed and monitored precisely for its changes. It is evident that there is implicit need to establish a harmonized protocol to monitor CC in EU and global perspective. Therefore, a new Area Frame Randomized Soil Sampling (AFRSS) is developed to detect the changes in CC in mineral soils (Stolbovoy et al., 2005). This method combines mixed sampling with randomized selection of the sampling sites in the field, following the requirements of the International Standard Organization (ISO/FDIS 10381-1:2002(E)) relevant to ISO 10381-4 devoted to “Sampling to support legal or regulatory action”. Field-testing of the AFRSS in Piemonte Province (Italy) has shown that the method is simple, transparent, technologically sound and cost effective. For example, the method facilitates easy computation of the sampling strategy and effective application of global-geopositioning tools. The results accounts on the difference in CC between first and second time samplings as well as the standard error of the estimate. Application of the composite sampling considerably minimizes the laboratory routine involved and reduces the cost to the practical level, e.g., the detection of 1 metric ton of the C stock change costs nearly 6 euro which is substantially less than the 230 euro cost based on the International Panel of Climate Change Good Practice Guidance (IPCC, 2003).

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