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Land 2014, 3(4), 1232-1250; doi:10.3390/land3041232

Vertical Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon Density in Relation to Land Use/Cover, Altitude and Slope Aspect in the Eastern Himalayas

Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Sydney, Biomedical Building C81, 1 Central Avenue, Australian Technology Park, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Received: 5 July 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 September 2014 / Published: 10 October 2014
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Abstract

In-depth understanding about the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) density is crucial for carbon (C) accounting, C budgeting and designing appropriate C sequestration strategies. We examined the vertical distribution of SOC density under different land use/land cover (LULC) types, altitudinal zones and aspect directions in a montane ecosystem of Bhutan. Sampling sites were located using conditioned Latin hypercube sampling (cLHS) scheme. Soils were sampled based on genetic horizons. An equal-area spline function was fitted to interpolate the target values to predetermined depths. Linear mixed model was fitted followed by mean separation tests. The results show some significant effects of LULC, altitudinal zone and slope aspect on the vertical distribution of SOC density in the profiles. Based on the proportion of mean SOC density in the first 20 cm relative to the cumulative mean SOC density in the top meter, the SOC density under agricultural lands (34%) was more homogeneously distributed down the profiles than forests (39%), grasslands (59%) and shrublands (43%). Similarly, the SOC density under 3500–4000 m zone (35%) was more uniformly distributed compared to 3000–3500 m zone (43%) and 1769–2500 m and 2500–3000 m zones (41% each). Under different aspect directions, the north and east-facing slopes (38% each) had more uniform distribution of SOC density than south (40%) and west-facing slopes (49%). View Full-Text
Keywords: SOC density; vertical distribution; land cover; altitude; slope aspect; Himalaya SOC density; vertical distribution; land cover; altitude; slope aspect; Himalaya
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dorji, T.; Odeh, I.O.A.; Field, D.J. Vertical Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon Density in Relation to Land Use/Cover, Altitude and Slope Aspect in the Eastern Himalayas. Land 2014, 3, 1232-1250.

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