Changes in Soil Carbon Stocks Across the Forest-Agroforest-Agriculture/Pasture Continuum in Various Agroecological Regions: A Meta-Analysis

Authors: Nilovna Chatterjee, P.K.Ramachandran Nair, Saptarshi Chakraborty, and Vimala D.Nair | Published: November 1, 2018

The contribution of agroforestry systems (AFS) to enhance soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in soil layers due to the presence of deep tree roots are of interest in the context of promoting carbon sinks and greenhouse gas mitigation. To quantify the relative soil C contribution from trees in agroforestry systems (AFS), this study assessed the reported differences in SOC stocks under agroforestry systems in comparison with other land-use systems (Agriculture, Forestry, Pasture, or Uncultivated Land) in various soil-depth classes in four agroecological regions (arid and semiarid, ASA; lowland humid tropics, LHT; Mediterranean, MED; and temperate, TEM) around the world. Using mixed-effect models and a meta-analytical approach, we synthesized data from 78 peer-reviewed studies that generated 858 data points (sites) on SOC stock under various AFS practiced globally. Comparing Agroforest vs. Agriculture or Agroforest vs. Pasture, SOC stocks under AFS were higher by +27% in the ASA region, +26% in LHT, and +5.8% in TEM, but –5.3% in the TEM in the 0–100 cm soil depth.