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Soil carbon

Changes in soil carbon stocks following land use change were assessed using 74 ‘paired’ and ‘chronosequence’ sites incorporating land use transitions to bioenergy crops across the UK. The main management practices associated with the different crops were also incorporated. 

This sampling was designed to increase our understanding of how land use change alters ecosystem properties which control the soil carbon stock under bioenergy crops. Transitions measured included land use change from arable and grassland to:

  • Miscanthus
  • Short Rotation Coppice-Willow (SRC-W)
  • Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) 

We sampled 74 paired or chronosequence comparison sites and assessed:

  • Soil carbon stock changes to 30 cm and 1 m depth
  • Above ground biomass carbon stock
  • Soil organic carbon quality and stability
  • Changes to the soil microbial community and associated carbon cycling processes

The data was used to facilitate soil carbon process modelling under a range of climate, management and land use change scenarios up to 2050 to enable predictions of the most sustainable pathways for bioenergy production in the UK.

This project was commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute

energy technologies institute

The ELUM Consortium is led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and includes the following organisations:

  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Southampton
  • Forest Research
  • Aberystwith University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • The University of York