Plant and Soil

, Volume 380, Issue 1–2, pp 89–100 | Cite as

Fertilization enhancing carbon sequestration as carbonate in arid cropland: assessments of long-term experiments in northern China

  • X. J. Wang
  • M. G. Xu
  • J. P. Wang
  • W. J. Zhang
  • X. Y. Yang
  • S. M. Huang
  • H. Liu
Regular Article



Soil inorganic carbon (SIC), primarily calcium carbonate, is a major reservoir of carbon in arid lands. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that carbonate might be enhanced in arid cropland, in association with soil fertility improvement via organic amendments.


We obtained two sets (65 each) of archived soil samples collected in the early and late 2000’s from three long-term experiment sites under wheat-corn cropping with various fertilization treatments in northern China. Soil organic (SOC), SIC and their Stable 13C compositions were determined over the range 0–100 cm.


All sites showed an overall increase of SIC content in soil profiles over time. Particularly, fertilizations led to large SIC accumulation with a range of 101–202 g C m−2 y−1 in the 0–100 cm. Accumulation of pedogenic carbonate under fertilization varied from 60 to 179 g C m−2 y−1 in the 0–100 cm. Organic amendments significantly enhanced carbonate accumulation, in particular in the subsoil.


More carbon was sequestrated in the form of carbonate than as SOC in the arid cropland in northern China. Increasing SOC stock through long-term straw incorporation and manure application in the arid and semi-arid regions also enhanced carbonate accumulation in soil profiles.


Soil carbonate Stable 13C composition Carbon sequestration Fertilization Cropland Arid region 



This study is financially supported by the Hundred Talented Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Key Basic Research Program (2013CB956602) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (41171239). We are grateful for the reviewers’ constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. J. Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. G. Xu
    • 3
  • J. P. Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  • W. J. Zhang
    • 3
  • X. Y. Yang
    • 5
  • S. M. Huang
    • 6
  • H. Liu
    • 7
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.College of Global Change and Earth System ScienceBeijing Normal University and Joint Center for Global Change StudiesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Crop Nutrition and Fertilization, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology UniversityYanglingChina
  6. 6.Institute of Plant Nutrition, Resources and EnvironmentHenan Academy of Agricultural SciencesZhengzhouChina
  7. 7.Institute of Soil and Fertilizer and Agricultural Sparing WaterXinjiang Academy of Agricultural SciencesUrumqiChina

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