Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2019, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (2): 184-195.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764X.2019.02.009

• Farmland Ecosystem • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial Analysis of the Soil Carbon Sequestration Potential of Crop-residue Return in China Based on Model Simulation

CHEN Jinghua1,2, WANG Shaoqiang1,2,3,*(), Florian KRAXNER4, Juraj BALKOVIC4, XU Xiyan5, SUN Leigang6   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Geography and Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    4. Ecosystems Services and Management Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg A-2361, Austria
    5. Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Beijing 100029, China
    6. Hebei Engineering Research Center for Geographic Information Application, Institute of Geographical Sciences, Hebei Academy of Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050011, China
  • Received:2018-10-22 Accepted:2018-12-10 Online:2019-03-30 Published:2019-03-30
  • Contact: WANG Shaoqiang
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0503803);General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571192);The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFA0600202);Science and Technology Planning Project of Hebei, China (17390313D).


Crop-residue return is a recommended practice for soil and nutrient management and is important in soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and CO2 mitigation. We applied a process-based Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model to simulate the spatial pattern of topsoil organic carbon changes from 2001 to 2010 under 4 crop-residue return scenarios in China. The carbon loss (28.89 Tg yr-1) with all crop-residue removal (CR0%) was partly reduced by 22.38 Tg C yr-1 under the status quo CR30% (30% of crop-residue return). The topsoil in cropland of China would become a net carbon sink if the crop-residue return rate was increased from 30% to 50%, or even 75%. The national SOC sequestration potential of cropland was estimated to be 25.53 Tg C yr-1 in CR50% and 52.85 Tg C yr-1 in CR75%, but with high spatial variability across regions. The highest rate of SOC sequestration potential in density occurred in Northwest and North China while the lowest was in East China. Croplands in North China tended to have stronger regional SOC sequestration potential in storage. During the decade, the reduced CO2 emissions from enhanced topsoil carbon in CR50% and CR75% were equivalent to 1.4% and 2.9% of the total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement production in China, respectively. In conclusion, we recommend encouraging farmers to return crop-residue instead of burning in order to improve soil properties and alleviate atmospheric CO2 rises, especially in North China.

Key words: cropland, crop-residue return, soil carbon sequestration, spatial pattern, EPIC model