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The break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered cropland abandonment on a continental scale, which in turn led to carbon accumulation on abandoned land across Eurasia. Previous studies have estimated carbon accumulation rates across Russia based on large-scale modelling. Studies that assess carbon sequestration on abandoned land based on robust field sampling are rare. We investigated soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks using a randomized sampling design along a climatic gradient from forest steppe to Sub-Taiga in Western Siberia (Tyumen Province). In total, SOC contents were sampled on 470 plots across different soil and land-use types. The effect of land use on changes in SOC stock was evaluated, and carbon sequestration rates were calculated for different age stages of abandoned cropland. While land-use type had an effect on carbon accumulation in the topsoil (0-5 cm), no independent land-use effects were found for deeper SOC stocks. Topsoil carbon stocks of grasslands and forests were significantly higher than those of soils managed for crops and under abandoned cropland. SOC increased significantly with time since abandonment. The average carbon sequestration rate for soils of abandoned cropland was 0.66 Mg C ha -1 yr -1 (1-20 years old, 0-5 cm soil depth), which is at the lower end of published estimates for Russia and Siberia. There was a tendency towards SOC saturation on abandoned land as sequestration rates were much higher for recently abandoned (1-10 years old, 1.04 Mg C ha -1 yr -1 ) compared to earlier abandoned crop fields (11-20 years old, 0.26 Mg C ha -1 yr -1 ). Our study confirms the global significance of abandoned cropland in Russia for carbon sequestration. Our findings also suggest that robust regional surveys based on a large number of samples advance model-based continent-wide SOC prediction. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Water scientists and managers regularly observe how wetlands, whether natural or created, can mitigate the influence of artificial impervious surfaces on water quality. However, we rarely study or mention wetlands accidentally (sensu Palta et al. 2017) formed atop impervious surfaces. This silence occurs even though many urbanites have likely noticed sedges rimming a clogged drainage grate or in the low bits of a poorly graded or aging parking lot, or similar. A more extreme example occurs in the Little River Waterfowl Impoundment vicinity of the Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land in Durham, North Carolina. There, a macadam road that connected local residents and a store, and served as the primary route through the area, by 1910-1920, was apparently abandoned by 1951. Later, damming nearby downstream Falls Lake Reservoir in 1981, and smaller-scale construction locally, apparently increased water table depth and flow exposure. Yet, the road remains largely intact structurally, though mostly buried and sometimes underwater. In a particularly wet segment of the road, surrounded by and partially holding back standing water even in drought, a substantial, mostly native wetland plant community has formed. This community includes trees such as overcup oak (Quercus lyrata) as large as 15 cm in diameter, shrubs such as (Cephalanthus occidentalus), sedges such as woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus), rushes (multiple Juncus species), grasses such as wood oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), crayfish and fish, and multiple orders of herptiles. The plants grow rooted in fluffy sediment three to rarely more than 20cm deep, over solid pavement. Alongside the old road, the ditches have widened and become shallower and less surficially connected through tree roots and debris dams; they resemble pools. Sediment in these abandoned ditches has accumulated to depths of tens of centimeters, generally reforming a clay-dominated, gleyed soil, in some places buried under more tens of centimeters of very 2b1af7f3a8