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Identification of the co-existence of low total organic carbon contents and low pH values in agricultural soil in north-central Europe using hot spot analysis based on GEMAS project data

Xu, Haofan, Demetriades, Alecos, Reimann, Clemens, Jiménez, Juan J., Filser, Juliane, Zhang, Chaosheng
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.678 pp. 94-104
agricultural soils, carbon dioxide, cold, emissions, pH, quartz, sediments, soil fertility, soil organic carbon, total organic carbon, Balkans, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain
Total organic carbon (TOC) contents in agricultural soil are presently receiving increased attention, not only because of their relationship to soil fertility, but also due to the sequestration of organic carbon in soil to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In this research, the spatial patterns of TOC and its relationship with pH at the European scale were studied using hot spot analysis based on the agricultural soil results of the Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural Soil (GEMAS) project. The hot and cold spot maps revealed the overall spatial patterns showing a negative correlation between TOC contents and pH values in European agricultural soil. High TOC contents accompanying low pH values in the north-eastern part of Europe (e.g., Fennoscandia), and low TOC with high pH values in the southern part (e.g., Spain, Italy, Balkan countries). A special feature of co-existence of comparatively low TOC contents and low pH values in north-central Europe was also identified on hot and cold spot analysis maps. It has been found that these patterns are strongly related to the high concentration of SiO2 (quartz) in the coarse-textured glacial sediments in north-central Europe. The hot spot analysis was effective, therefore, in highlighting the spatial patterns of TOC in European agricultural soil and helpful to identify hidden patterns.