Connecting changes in soil carbon storage over 20+ years to dynamics of net ecosystem carbon balance through modelling and remote sensing tools

Lead Applicant: Claudia Wagner-Riddle

Research Priority: Soil Health 

Program Type: Tier 1

Funding Cycle: 2023/2024

Research Centre: Ontario Crops Research Centre - Elora

Research Summary: Studies of soil carbon change are challenging due to the lack of baseline data. Detailed soil carbon data for the Elora long-term micromet site from 1999 offer a unique opportunity to assess changes in storage after 20+ years. Using a micromet method we have seen a persistent annual net carbon loss as the carbon removed at harvest is a large percentage of the net ecosystem carbon balance. Over the last 3 years, a diversified rotation with the use of cover crops showed a small carbon uptake shift compared to a simple corn-soybean rotation. Here we propose to determine the status of soil carbon in the same field sampled in 1999 and connect the changes in soil carbon to the seasonal micromet carbon exchange. Combining our measurement approach with a biogeochemical model coupled to remote sensing will provide insight into soil carbon processes and crucial information for achieving net-zero carbon targets.