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Land inundation and cropping intensity influences on organic carbon in the agricultural soils of Bangladesh

Uddin, M.J., Hooda, Peter S., Mohiuddin, A.S.M., Smith, Mike, Waller, Martyn
Catena 2019 v.178 pp. 11-19
agricultural soils, land use, landscapes, rivers, soil organic carbon, soil sampling, Bangladesh, Ganges River
Land inundation is a common occurrence in Bangladesh, mainly due to the presence of two major river systems – the Brahmaputra and the Ganges. Inundation influences land use and cropping intensity. However, there is little information on the influences of the extent of flooding and cropping intensity has on soil organic carbon (SOC), particularly at the landscape level. To investigate these influences, we collected 268 surface (0–30 cm) soil samples from 4 large sites within the two alluviums deposits (the Brahmaputra river and the Ganges river), on a regular grid (1600 m). The findings show that SOC levels are generally low, reflecting the intensity of agriculture and land management practices. SOC variability was higher across the medium high land (MHL) and medium low land (MLL) sites than in the high land (HL) and low land (LL) sites. The relatively low SOC levels and variability in the HL sites indicate soils here might have reached to equilibrium levels due to higher land use intensity. Topographically higher lands (HL and MHL), due to less of inundation, had higher cropping intensities and lower SOC's than lower lands (MLL and LL), which had lower cropping intensities, as they remain inundated for longer periods of time. The findings clearly demonstrate the intrinsic influence of land inundation in driving cropping intensity, land management practices and SOC levels.