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SOIL An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-36
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Review article
22 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL).
Proximal sensing for soil carbon accounting
Jacqueline R. England1 and Raphael Armando Viscarra Rossel2 1CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag 10, Clayton South VIC 3169, Australia
2CSIRO Land and Water, Bruce E. Butler Laboratory, P.O. Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
Abstract. Maintaining or increasing soil organic carbon (C) is important for securing food production, and for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change and land degradation. Some land management practices in cropping, grazing, horticultural and mixed farming systems can be used to increase organic C in soil, but to assess their effectiveness, we need accurate and cost-efficient methods for measuring and monitoring the change. To determine the stock of organic C in soil, one needs measurements of soil organic C concentration, bulk density and gravel content, but using conventional laboratory-based analytical methods is expensive. Our aim here is to review the current state of proximal sensing for the development of new soil C accounting methods for emissions reporting and in emissions reduction schemes. We evaluated sensing techniques in terms of their rapidity, cost, accuracy, safety, readiness and their state of development. The most suitable technique for measuring soil organic C concentrations appears to be vis–NIR spectroscopy and for bulk density active gamma-ray attenuation. Sensors for measuring gravel have not been developed, but an interim solution with rapid wet-sieving and automated measurement appears useful. Field-deployable, multi-sensor systems are needed for cost-efficient soil C accounting. Proximal sensing can be used for soil organic C accounting, but the methods need to be standardised and procedural guidelines need to be developed to ensure proficient measurement and accurate reporting and verification. This is particularly important if the schemes use financial incentives for landholders to adopt management practices to sequester soil organic C. We list and discuss the requirements for the development of new soil C accounting methods that are based on proximal sensing, including requirements for recording, verification and auditing.

Citation: England, J. R. and Viscarra Rossel, R. A.: Proximal sensing for soil carbon accounting, SOIL Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2017-36, in review, 2018.
Jacqueline R. England and Raphael Armando Viscarra Rossel
Jacqueline R. England and Raphael Armando Viscarra Rossel
Jacqueline R. England and Raphael Armando Viscarra Rossel

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Short summary
Proximal sensing can be used for soil C accounting, but the methods need to be standardised and procedural guidelines developed to ensure proficient measurement and accurate reporting. This is particularly important if there are financial incentives for landholders to adopt practices to sequester C. We review sensing for C accounting and discuss the requirements for the development of new soil C accounting methods based on sensing, including requirements for reporting, auditing and verification.
Proximal sensing can be used for soil C accounting, but the methods need to be standardised and...
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