Exploring the ‘carbon polygon’ of Ladoga

Sustainable soil management (SSM) initiatives review organic matter in soil and carbon sequestration to understand how best to mitigate carbon and methane emissions, improving mitigation of climate change. In Russia, the government established a ‘Carbon Polygons’ project assessing and monitoring carbon in different ecosystems and biomes, especially boreal forest regions.

The researchers wanted to assess the soil organic matter in the Ladoga monitoring site. They planned to analyse chemical and microbiological properties of soil, calculate organic carbon and nitrogen stocks and study the molecular structure of humic acids and their contribution to organic soil properties (Polyakov et al., 2023).

The Ladoga area is in European Russia and will be compared with it’s bordering Finnish region to understand the organic carbon composition across both territories. The area includes Lake Ladoga, and also southern taiga forest but has milder winters than some parts of the Arctic with temperature ranging from -27°C to 37.7°C based on temperatures from Voyeikovo station and recent annual snow cover of just over 40 metres (Polyakov et al., 2023).

Заостровье | Ladoga, by deep sky object, available on Flickr, CC-BY-SA-2.0

They created two soil monitoring sites, one on top of a hill and one in lowland near Lake Ladoga. Soil samples were collected then transported to a laboratory at St Petersburg State University for analysis. They reviewed alkalinity, acidity, potential acidity, respiration, microbiological activity as well as organic carbon and nitrogen levels.

The soil is in areas where there is leaching of water soluble acids, peat and humus formation. They found varying levels of organic carbon in peat soils, with Western European Russian region nearly half of it’s eastern counterpart. There is less data for Arctic tundra soils. Younger soils have weaker molecular structures. This also varies across marshland soils. They found total carbon stock of 7.92 kg.m2 for Folic Podzol and 42.95 kg/m2 for Fibric Histosol. (Polyakov et al., 2023)

Once all the carbon ‘polygons’ have been analysed this will provide both the Russian Federation and the world with a clearer idea of the potential of carbon sequestration in the country and ability to mitigate negative impacts of the climate change.

Polyakov, V.; Abakumov, E.; Nizamutdinov, T.; Shevchenko, E.; Makarova, M. Estimation of Carbon Stocks and Stabilization Rates of Organic Matter in Soils of the «Ladoga» Carbon Monitoring Site. Agronomy2023,13,807. https:// doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030807

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