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Predicted soil organic carbon stocks and changes in Jordan between 2000 and 2030 made using the GEFSOC Modelling System

Al-Adamat, R., Rawajfih, Z., Easter, M., Paustian, K., Coleman, K., Milne, E., Falloon, P., Powlson, D.S., Batjes, N.H.
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2007 v.122 no.1 pp. 35-45
prediction, soil organic carbon, land use, carbon sequestration, desertification, geographic information systems, environmental models, soil science, climatic factors, land use change, Jordan
Estimates of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and changes under different land use systems can help determine vulnerability to land degradation. Such information is important for countries in arid areas with high susceptibility to desertification. SOC stocks, and predicted changes between 2000 and 2030, were determined at the national scale for Jordan using The Global Environment Facility Soil Organic Carbon (GEFSOC) Modelling System. For the purpose of this study, Jordan was divided into three natural regions (The Jordan Valley, the Uplands and the Badia) and three developmental regions (North, Middle and South). Based on this division, Jordan was divided into five zones (based on the dominant land use): the Jordan Valley, the North Uplands, the Middle Uplands, the South Uplands and the Badia. This information was merged using GIS, along with a map of rainfall isohyets, to produce a map with 498 polygons. Each of these was given a unique ID, a land management unit identifier and was characterized in terms of its dominant soil type. Historical land use data, current land use and future land use change scenarios were also assembled, forming major inputs of the modelling system. The GEFSOC Modelling System was then run to produce C stocks in Jordan for the years 1990, 2000 and 2030. The results were compared with conventional methods of estimating carbon stocks, such as the mapping based SOTER method. The results of these comparisons showed that the model runs are acceptable, taking into consideration the limited availability of long-term experimental soil data that can be used to validate them. The main findings of this research show that between 2000 and 2030, SOC may increase in heavily used areas under irrigation and will likely decrease in grazed rangelands that cover most of Jordan giving an overall decrease in total SOC over time if the land is indeed used under the estimated forms of land use.