Variation of soil organic carbon and its major constraints in east central Asia

Xinqing Lee, Yimin Huang, Daikuan Huang, Lu Hu, Zhaodong Feng, Jianzhong Cheng, Bing Wang, Jian Ni, Tserenpil Shurkhuu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Variation of soil organic carbon (SOC) and its major constraints in large spatial scale are critical for estimating global SOC inventory and projecting its future at environmental changes. By analyzing SOC and its environment at 210 sites in uncultivated land along a 3020km latitudinal transect in East Central Asia, we examined the effect of environmental factors on the dynamics of SOC. We found that SOC changes dramatically with the difference as high as 5 times in north China and 17 times in Mongolia. Regardle, C:N remains consistent about 12. Path analysis indicated that temperature is the dominant factor in the variation of SOC with a direct effect much higher than the indirect one, the former breaks SOC down the year round while the latter results in its growth mainly via precipitation in the winter half year. Precipitation helps accumulate SOC, a large part of the effect, however, is taken via temperature. NH4+-N and topography also affect SOC, their roles are played primarily via climatic factors. pH correlates significantly with SOC, the effect, however, is taken only in the winter months, contributing to the decay of SOC primarily via temperature. These factors explained as much as 79% of SOC variations, especially in the summer months, representing the major constraints on the SOC stock. Soil texture gets increasingly fine southward, it does not, however, constitute an apparent factor. Our results suggested that recent global warming should have been adversely affecting SOC stock in the mid-latitude as temperature dominates other factors as the constraint.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150709
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Variation of soil organic carbon and its major constraints in east central Asia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this