The work is aimed at the analysis of carbonate dynamics in soils under different land use. The studied area is located in the forest steppe - of the Central Russian Upland. Soils were sampled at four sites: a broadleaf forest, an adjacent 50-year continuously cropped field including plots under a corn monoculture, bare fallow, and a crop rotation area with a clean fallow every fourth year. The carbonates’ morphology, their chemical composition, as well as their stable and radiogenic isotopes of carbon were studied. Clear-cut distinctions were found in the carbonate distribution throughout the profiles in the microstructure of carbonate pedofeatures, carbon isotopic composition, and radiocarbon age of carbonates between the pairs of the plots as follows: the bare fallow and the crop rotation on the one hand, and the corn monoculture and forest on the other. The distinctions are commonly assumed to result from repeating upward water fluxes, which are different in the bare soils and those with plant cover. A clear difference occurred in the hydrothermal regime for soils with and without plant cover, and was found to be the key factor of the observed differences. In addition, in soils under plant cover, the carbonate migration upward occurs due to process of transpiration, whereas in soils devoid of plants, it occurs due to physical evaporation.
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