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Volume 8, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 8, 113–120, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-113-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 8, 113–120, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-113-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jan 2011

Research article | 18 Jan 2011

Deep plant-derived carbon storage in Amazonian podzols

C. R. Montes1, Y. Lucas2, O. J. R. Pereira1, R. Achard2,*, M. Grimaldi2, and A. J. Melfi3 C. R. Montes et al.
  • 1NUPEGEL, CENA, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil
  • 2PROTEE, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, La Garde, Toulon, France
  • 3NUPEGEL, ESALQ, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil
  • *now at: INERIS, Aix-en-Provence, France

Abstract. Equatorial podzols are soils characterized by thick sandy horizons overlying more clayey horizons. Organic matter produced in the topsoil is transferred in depth through the sandy horizons and accumulate at the transition, at a depth varying from 1 to more than 3 m, forming deep horizons rich in organic matter (Bh horizons). Although they cover great surfaces in the equatorial zone, these soils are still poorly known. Studying podzols from Amazonia, we found out that the deep Bh horizons in poorly drained podzol areas have a thickness higher than 1 m and store unexpected amounts of carbon. The average for the studied area was 66.7 ± 5.8 kgC m−2 for the deep Bh and 86.8 ± 7.1 kgC m−2 for the whole profile. Extrapolating to the podzol areas of the whole Amazonian basin has been possible thanks to digital maps, giving an order of magnitude around 13.6 ± 1.1 PgC, at least 12.3 PgC higher than previous estimates. This assessment should be refined by additional investigations, not only in Amazonia but in all equatorial areas where podzols have been identified. Because of the lack of knowledge on the quality and behaviour of the podzol organic matter, the question of the feedback between the climate and the equatorial podzol carbon cycle is open.

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