Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 339–348 | Cite as

Effect of reclamation on soil organic carbon pools in coastal areas of eastern China

  • Jianguo Li
  • Wenhui Yang
  • Qiang Li
  • Lijie PuEmail author
  • Yan Xu
  • Zhongqi Zhang
  • Lili Liu
Research Article


The coastal wetlands of eastern China form one of the most important carbon sinks in the world. However, reclamation can significantly alter the soil carbon pool dynamics in these areas. In this study, a chronosequence was constructed for four reclamation zones in Rudong County, Jiangsu Province, eastern China (reclaimed in 1951, 1974, 1982, and 2007) and a reference salt marsh to identify both the process of soil organic carbon (SOC) evolution, as well as the effect of cropping and soil properties on SOC with time after reclamation. The results show that whereas soil nutrient elements and SOC increased after reclamation, the electrical conductivity of the saturated soil extract (ECe), pH, and bulk density decreased within 62 years following reclamation and agricultural amendment. In general, the soil’s chemical properties remarkably improved and SOC increased significantly for approximately 30 years after reclamation. Reclamation for agriculture (rice and cotton) significantly increased the soil organic carbon density (SOCD) in the top 60 cm, especially in the top 0–30 cm. However, whereas the highest concentration of SOCD in rice-growing areas was in the top 0–20 cm of the soil profile, it was greater at a 20–60 cm depth in cottongrowing areas. Reclamation also significantly increased heavy fraction organic carbon (HFOC) levels in the 0–30 cm layer, thereby enhancing the stability of the soil carbon pool. SOC can thus increase significantly over a long time period after coastal reclamation, especially in areas of cultivation, where coastal SOC pools in eastern China tend to be more stable.


soil organic carbon (SOC) reclamation time land use coastal wetlands heavy fraction organic carbon (HFOC) light fraction organic carbon (LFOC) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



We appreciate the helpful comments provided by two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41701371, 41230751, and 41201213), The Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science project (No. 17YJCZH085), University Science Research Project of Jiangsu Province (No.17KJB170006), The Jiangsu Normal University Foundation (15XLR017), the Jiangsu Students’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program (No. 201610320043Z), research and innovation plan of postgraduate research in Jiangsu Province (KYCX17_1686), and a project funded by the Priority Academic Development Program of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.


  1. Bai J, Xiao R, Zhang K, Gao H, Cui B, Liu X (2013). Soil organic carbon as affected by land use in young and old reclaimed regions of a coastal estuary wetland, China. Soil Use Manage, 29(1): 57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chmura G L, Anisfeld S C, Cahoon D R, Lynch J C (2003). Global carbon sequestration in tidal, saline wetland soils. Global Biogeochem Cycles, 17(4), Scholar
  3. Christensen B T (1992). Physical fractionation of soil and organic matter in primary particle size and density separates. In: Stewart B A, ed. Advances in Soil Science. New York: Springer, 20: 1–90Google Scholar
  4. Cui J, Liu C, Li Z, Wang L, Chen X, Ye Z, Fang C (2012). Long-term changes in topsoil chemical properties under centuries of cultivation after reclamation of coastal wetlands in the Yangtze Estuary, China. Soil Tillage Res, 123: 50–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fernández S, Santín C, Marquínez J, Álvarez MA (2010). Saltmarsh soil evolution after land reclamation in Atlantic estuaries (Bay of Biscay, North coast of Spain). Geomorphology, 114(4): 497–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gebhart D L, Johnson H B, Mayeux H, Polley H (1994). The CRP increases soil organic carbon. J Soil Water Conserv, 49: 488–492Google Scholar
  7. Gong W, Yan X Y, Wang J Y, Hu T X, Gong Y B (2009). Long-term manuring and fertilization effects on soil organic carbon pools under a wheat–maize cropping system in North China Plain. Plant Soil, 314 (1–2): 67–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grunzweig J M, Sparrow S D, Yakir D, Stuart Chapin F (2004). Impact of agricultural land-use change on carbon storage in boreal Alaska. Glob Change Biol, 10(4): 452–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hendershot W H, Duquette M (1986). A simple barium chloride method for determining cation exchange capacity and exchangeable cations. Soil Sci Soc Am J, 50(3): 605–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Iost S, Landgraf D, Makeschin F (2007). Chemical soil properties of reclaimed marsh soil from Zhejiang Province PR China. Geoderma, 142(3–4): 245–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jamison V, Thornton J (1960). Results of deep fertilization and subsoiling on a claypan soil. Agron J, 52(4): 193–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Janzen H, Campbell C, Brandt S, Lafond G, Townley-Smith L (1992). Light-fraction organic matter in soils from long-term crop rotations. Soil Sci Soc Am J, 56(6): 1799–1806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jin W (2016). Study on carbon sequestration rate and carbon control in coastal saline soil under typical uses. Beijing: Chinese Academy of Sciences University (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Kang J, Meng X F, Xu Y, Luan J, Long X, Liu Z (2012). Effects of different vegetation types on soil organic carbon pool in costal salinealkali soils of Jiangsu Province. Soils, 44(2): 260–266 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Khorramdel S, Koocheki A, Nassiri Mahallati M, Khorasani R, Ghorbani R (2013). Evaluation of carbon sequestration potential in corn fields with different management systems. Soil Tillage Res, 133: 25–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Laegdsgaard P (2006). Ecology, disturbance and restoration of coastal saltmarsh in Australia: a review. Wetlands Ecol Manage, 14(5): 379–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Laik R, Kumar K, Das D, Chaturvedi O (2009). Labile soil organic matter pools in a calciorthent after 18 years of afforestation by different plantations. Appl Soil Ecol, 42(2): 71–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Laudicina V A, Hurtado M D, Badalucco L, Delgado A, Palazzolo E, Panno M (2009). Soil chemical and biochemical properties of a saltmarsh alluvial Spanish area after long-term reclamation. Biol Fertil Soils, 45(7): 691–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li J, Pu L, Han M, Zhu M, Zhang R, Xiang Y (2014b). Soil salinization research in China: advances and prospects. J Geogr Sci, 24(5): 943–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li J, Pu L, Liao Q, Zhu M, Dai X, Xu Y, Zhang L, Hua M, Jin Y (2015a). How anthropogenic activities affect soil heavy metal concentration on a broad scale: a geochemistry survey in Yangtze River Delta, Eastern China. Environ Earth Sci, 73(4): 1823–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li J, Pu L, Xu C, Chen X, Zhang Y, Cai F (2015b). The changes and dynamics of coastal wetlands and reclamation areas in central Jiangsu from 1977 to 2014. Acta Geogr Sin, 70(1): 17–28 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  22. Li J, Pu L, Zhu M, Zhang J, Li P, Dai X, Xu Y, Liu L (2014a). Evolution of soil properties following reclamation in coastal areas: a review. Geoderma, 226–227: 130–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li J, Wang W, Pu L, Liu L, Zhang Z, Li Q (2017). Coastal reclamation and saltmarsh carbon budget: advances and prospects. Advances in Earth Science, 32(6): 599–614 (in Chinese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li X, Sun Y, Mander Ü, He Y (2013). Effects of land use intensity on soil nutrient distribution after reclamation in an estuary landscape. Landsc Ecol, 28(4): 699–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Muñoz-Hincapié M, Morell J M, Corredor J E (2002). Increase of nitrous oxide flux to the atmosphere upon nitrogen addition to red mangroves sediments. Mar Pollut Bull, 44(10): 992–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nicholls R J (2004). Coastal flooding and wetland loss in the 21st century: changes under the SRES climate and socio-economic scenarios. Glob Environ Change, 14(1): 69–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Portnoy J, Giblin A (1997). Effects of historic tidal restrictions on salt marsh sediment chemistry. Biogeochemistry, 36(3): 275–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Post W M, Emanuel W R, Zinke P J, Stangenberger A G (1982). Soil carbon pools and world life zones. Nature, 298(5870): 156–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Setia R, Smith P, Marschner P, Gottschalk P, Baldock J, Verma V, Setia D, Smith J (2012). Simulation of salinity effects on past, present, and future soil organic carbon stocks. Environ Sci Technol, 46(3): 1624–1631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sun Y, Li X, Mander Ü, He Y, Jia Y, Ma Z, Guo W, Xin Z (2011). Effect of reclamation time and land use on soil properties in Changjiang River Estuary, China. Chin Geogr Sci, 21(4): 403–416 (in Chinese)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tan W F, Zhu Z F, Liu F, Hu R G, Shan S J (2006). Organic carbon distribution and storage of soil aggregates under land use change in Jianghan Plain, Hubei Province. Journal of Natural Resources, 21: 973–980 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  32. Tripathi S, Kumari S, Chakraborty A, Gupta A, Chakrabarti K, Bandyapadhyay B K (2006). Microbial biomass and its activities in salt-affected coastal soils. Biol Fertil Soils, 42(3): 273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tsai Y, Wang C, Chang W, Wang R, Huang C (2000). Concentrations of potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron in black and gray hairs in Taiwan. J Health Sci, 46(1): 46–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang W Y, Wang Q J, Lu Z Y (2009). Soil organic carbon and nitrogen content of density fractions and effect of meadow degradation to soil carbon and nitrogen of fractions in alpine Kobresia meadow. Sci China Earth Sci, 52(5): 660–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. West T O, Post W M (2002). Soil organic carbon sequestration rates by tillage and crop rotation. Soil Sci Soc Am J, 66(6): 1930–1946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu M, Shao X X, Hu F, Jiang K Y (2008). Effects of reclamation on soil nutrients distribution of coastal wetland in south Hangzhou Bay. Soils, 40: 760–764 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  37. Zhang C, Chen J, Lin K, Ding X, Yuan R, Kang Y (2011a). Spatial layout of reclamation of coastal tidal flats in Jiangsu Province. Journal of Hohai University: Natural Sciences, 39: 206–212 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  38. Zhang G (2010). Changes of soil labile organic carbon in different land uses in Sanjiang Plain, Heilongjiang Province. Chin Geogr Sci, 20 (2): 139–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang J, Yang J, Yao R, Yu S, Li F, Hou X (2014). The effects of farmyard manure and mulch on soil physical properties in a reclaimed coastal tidal flat salt-affected soil. J Integr Agric, 13(8): 1782–1790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang S P, Wang L, Hu J J, Zhang W Q, Fu X H, Le Y Q, Jin F M (2011b). Organic carbon accumulation capability of two typical tidal wetland soils in Chongming Dongtan, China. J Environ Sci (China), 23(1): 87–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang T, Wang T, Liu K S, Wang L, Wang K, Zhou Y (2015). Effects of different amendments for the reclamation of coastal saline soil on soil nutrient dynamics and electrical conductivity responses. Agric Water Manage, 159: 115–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhou J L, Wu Y, Kang Q S, Zhang J (2007a). Spatial variations of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur in the salt marsh sediments of the Yangtze Estuary in China. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci, 71(1–2): 47–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhou X, Zhao R, Li Y, Chen X (2009). Effects of land use types on particle size distribution of reclaimed alluvial soils of the Yangtze Estuary. Acta Ecol Sin, 29(10): 5544–5551 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  44. Zhou Z Y, Sun O J, Huang J H, Li L H, Liu P, Han X G (2007b). Soil carbon and nitrogen stores and storage potential as affected by landuse in an agro-pastoral ecotone of northern China. Biogeochemistry, 82(2): 127–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianguo Li
    • 1
  • Wenhui Yang
    • 1
  • Qiang Li
    • 1
  • Lijie Pu
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yan Xu
    • 2
  • Zhongqi Zhang
    • 1
  • Lili Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Geomatics and PlanningJiangsu Normal UniversityXuzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Exploitation and ProtectionMinistry of Land and ResourcesNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations